State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor John B. King Jr. announced on Tuesday, April 11 that COVID-19 vaccination will no longer be required for students across SUNY’s 64 campuses, effective summer 2023.
The decision comes after President Joe Biden signed a bill on April 10, which declares that the official end of the national public health emergency will be on May 11. Lifting the mandate was suggested by SUNY’s Public Health Expert Advisory Committee, which collects and reviews data regarding COVID trends.
“The safety of SUNY’s students is our first and foremost priority, and while COVID is no longer an emergency, we will not lose sight of the impact it continues to have on us,” King said in a statement.
Vice President for Student Affairs Rick Gatteau sent out an email with the news to Stony Brook students on April 12, saying that the University still encourages the vaccine and COVID-19 booster shots. Gatteau also emphasized that other vaccine mandates have not changed; students are still required to submit proof of immunity against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and meningitis.
“I am comfortable with the decision because at any given time, depending on infection rates and our partnership with the department of health, we can adapt our strategies based on the changing dynamics of the pandemic,” Associate Vice President for Health, Wellness and Prevention Services Marisa Bisiani said in an email to The Statesman.
Bisiani explained that Stony Brook will still prioritize COVID-19 safety by monitoring infection rates and encouraging awareness, education and prevention. The University will also continue to offer free vaccines to students through Student Health Services.