NYU students planning to return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, senior university leadership announced in an April 19 email sent to the university community. The decision comes days after the COVID-19 vaccine was listed as required on the Student Health Center website, which the university later claimed was a mistake.
According to the April 19 email — sent by Provost Katherine Fleming, Executive Vice-President Martin Dorph and Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, executive lead of the COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team — the vaccination requirement aims to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in New York City. The requirement will also allow for more in-person activities during the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year.
At the moment, the COVID-19 vaccine will only be mandatory for students. According to Fleming, Dorph and Ciotoli, the university is strongly encouraging but not requiring faculty and employees to get vaccinated. University spokesperson John Beckman said the university hopes this will lead to a greater percentage of the university community being fully vaccinated.
“We believe this is a vital step for the health of the NYU community,” Beckman wrote in an email statement to WSN. “So far the reaction we are getting is mostly positive, which is a good sign.”
Multiple students said this requirement will make them feel safer on campus and allow them to engage in activities put on pause during the pandemic. CAS junior David Bell said he does not understand why anybody would disagree with the vaccine requirement.
“As human beings on the earth, we have a moral obligation to not inadvertently [continue] a pandemic that killed millions of people,” Bell said. “There are protocols and clinical trials. We’re not rushing into anything stupid.”
Global Liberal Studies sophomore Dylan Yen agreed with Bell.
“You are preventing murder, frankly,” Yen said to WSN. “There are so many upsides to a vaccine and there’s so little downside.”
The university has existent policies requiring students to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, meningococcal meningitis and other illnesses. If students fail to comply with these requirements they are barred from attending classes and removed from university housing.
“As in those cases, the reason is to safeguard community health,” Beckman said. “We will expect students to demonstrate proof of vaccination. We will soon be announcing the process by which members of the NYU community can submit proof of vaccination.”
According to the April 19 email, NYU is still devising specific vaccination logistics, but will send a follow-up communication when a system is in place. The university expects to have more information and instructions by the end of April.
“At this point it is unclear which of the protocols will change and how they will change as we resume in-person classes as our principal mode of instruction for the fall,” Beckman wrote. “We will be looking to public health authorities for guidance on those issues, and we will be announcing them to the community as we finalize our planning.”
1,168 students were vaccinated at the NYU Student Health Center last week, and a further 1,200 are expected to receive appointments for next week. The university has also published a page addressing questions students may have about the inoculation process.
Email Rachel Fadem at [email protected]