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Why do SUNY students need a COVID vaccine, but not faculty?

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  • Staff Report 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, vaccination mandates are becoming increasingly common. In New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul announced in December 2021 that students and faculty in the State University of New York (SUNY) system would be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

However, this mandate did not immediately go into effect for faculty.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

In September 2022, a new policy went into effect requiring students to get vaccinated but not faculty.

The SUNY policy says that “certain employees, students, and volunteers at SUNY’s healthcare facilities may be subject to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination pursuant to relevant NYS Department of Health Regulations.” However, the directive does not apply to faculty and staff, who are instead “strongly encouraged” to get vaccinated.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

SUNY says the difference comes down to union contracts, which they are obligated to follow.

The decision not to mandate vaccinations for SUNY faculty has sparked some controversy, with some questioning why students are required to get vaccinated while faculty are not.

Despite the controversy, SUNY’s vaccination policy remains in effect, with students required to get vaccinated and faculty strongly encouraged to do so.