SUNY, CUNY and Hofstra mandate vaccines for students to return in the fall
All SUNY and CUNY schools along with Hofstra University are mandating students get vaccinated in order to return for the fall semester.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the mandate for public universities and colleges on Monday. According to state data, less than 25% of people in the 16-25-year-old group are fully vaccinated.
"I think it's a good idea because they will be able to keep COVID numbers down and that'll give us a chance to like finally get these masks off and enjoy ourselves again," says student Yesenia Joya.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Sharon Nachman says mandating the vaccine for that age group will stop the spread of COVID-19.
"When you think about how many students are on college campuses, the numbers are in the thousands," says Nachman. "Between classes and hanging out and the cafeteria they're interacting with hundreds of people at a time."
Freshman Tony Kareeparampil says he hopes his fellow students get vaccinated.
"I just want everything to go back to normal, like in person classes and the actual college experience," says Kareeparampil.
Hofstra also announced a vaccine mandate today. In a message to students, the university said in part, "Being vaccinated helps to restore our normal day-to-day operations and campus life, and we look forward to the return to a pre-pandemic campus environment."
Hofstra sophomore Vivek Annadata says he feels more comfortable going back in the fall knowing that his peers will be vaccinated.
"I think it's a good thing Hofstra did to make sure everyone is safe on campus," says Annadata.
Hofstra also said there are medical and religious exemptions.
Not everyone thinks students should be required to get vaccinated. Hofstra student Aly Morganelli says she's been vaccinated but isn't sure it should be mandated.
"I don't think it's the worst thing in the world," says Morganelli. "But ultimately I think it should also be up to students because we are old enough to make our own decisions."
Adelphi University is taking a totally different approach to keeping students safe. Instead of requiring the vaccine, the school is offering incentives to students, faculty and staff. Some items offered include $25 gift cards, raffles for prizes, and even Mets and Yankees tickets.
The governor's office says the vaccine mandate will only apply if the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval for the vaccines. Right now, they're only approved for emergency use.