Statement by Chancellor Matos Rodríguez on the Anniversary of CUNY’s COVID-19 Shutdown

“Today marks the one-year anniversary of Governor Cuomo’s directive for CUNY and other universities in New York State to cease in-person classes in response to the emergence of COVID-19. We could not then have known or predicted the scope of change that rapidly followed and altered every aspect of our lives, or the difficulties, challenges, and tragedies that would indelibly mark our memories of this time.

“As we reflect upon the agonizing toll this pandemic has wrought upon our State, our City and our University, we also acknowledge and appreciate the fortitude we have summoned to get to where we are today. Let us commit to meet the coming weeks and months with sustained vigilance and strength.

“We mourn the loss of family members and colleagues, classmates, neighbors, and friends. I have asked that flags on all CUNY campuses be flown at half-staff. We reaffirm our duty to address the social, racial, economic, and educational disparities that the pandemic has exploited and exposed. These efforts will represent the University’s most meaningful memorial to those we have lost.

“I urge all members of our community to maintain the resolve shown over the course of the past 12 months. Please uphold the masking, distancing, and other practices that have kept all of us safe. Most importantly, I urge you to stay abreast of evolving eligibility guidelines to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and to step forward and make your appointment the moment you are eligible. Getting that shot is now the most important step each of us can take to ensure the eventual return to in-person instruction, and the resumption of daily life that we’re so eager to see.

“The time is in view when our campuses, and our lives, will resemble what they were before. Our determined perseverance is bringing that day nearer. We are getting there.”

By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez