The State University of New York and the City University of New York plan to require that all students attending in-person instruction in the fall be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Monday.
He said the requirement would be contingent on the federal government granting full approval to the vaccines now in use. So far, three vaccines have been given emergency use authorization in the United States, but none have full approval yet.
Pfizer and BioNTech jointly applied for full approval for their vaccine last week, and Moderna has said it plans to apply sometime in May. The approval process can take months.
The New York colleges and universities join a growing list of higher-education institutions that will require students to be vaccinated in the fall. In April, the University of California and California State University announced plans to require all students, faculty and staff on their campuses be vaccinated, once a vaccine receives full approval. That policy will affect more than one million people associated with the sprawling state campuses across California.
Many private colleges and universities have announced similar requirements for their students, including Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Duke, Morehouse and Notre Dame. According to a tracker maintained by The Chronicle of Higher Education, at least 319 campuses have announced vaccination mandates of some form for the fall.
At the end of April, the University of Maryland system announced that it would require students and staff to be vaccinated. The chancellor, Jay A. Perman, said the university was doing so to prepare for “more infectious, more harmful variants that we think could be circulating on our campuses come fall.”
Colleges and universities have been among the more closely watched institutions during the pandemic, in part because many students travel long distances to attend them and could unknowingly spur outbreaks in the surrounding communities. Iowa City, for example, which is home to the University of Iowa, experienced a surge when students returned to campus in the fall of 2020.
At the time, The New York Times reviewed 203 counties in the United States where students make up at least 10 percent of the population, and found that about half were experiencing significant increases in infections.