CUNY Schools Mandate the COVID-19 Vaccine

CSI Students voice their opinions on the virus, vaccine protocol and the opening of the college

By: Sabrina Benet & Angelina Salvador


On May 10th, it was announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo that all SUNY and CUNY schools will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, joining a rapidly growing list of other universities requiring it.

Cuomo stated that due to the federal government approving the emergency use of the vaccine, they will be a necessity for going back to school in the Fall. Currently, three vaccines have been given the go to have emergency authorization in the U.S., however, none are fully approved just yet. 

“There will be no excuses,” said Cuomo during his May 10th conference. “SUNY and CUNY boards will require vaccinations for all in-person students beginning this fall.” 

The Covid-19 vaccines have been rolling out across the United States and have created conversations and debates about the safety of each vaccine. People were also concerned about whether or not they should make the vaccines mandatory, especially for schools and college campuses. 

The College of Staten Island shutdown last March and resumed education with online courses and extremely limited campus capacity. The college is currently strictly asynchronous, which means that all clubs, offices, and events are also taking place on Zoom. 

Many students that attend CUNY’s College of Staten Island had a chance to voice their opinions, anonymously or identified through a survey, conducted by The Banner. 

In our sample size of 78 students, we asked eight questions regarding the college’s opening for the Fall 2021 semester and factors such as means of transportation and plans for vaccination. 

The sample size of the survey is not a reflection of every student’s opinions at CSI, as some may have been uncomfortable voicing any opinions or beliefs on the subject matter. The survey was sent out in late April and has accumulated growing responses over time.

When faced with the question, “How did COVID-19 affect your college experience?” students swung back with a multitude of answers. 

“It has affected my mental health horribly and my overall academic experience,” said CSI student Amya Lambert. “I wish to be back in classes seeing my professors in person, I learn and retain material easier.” 

While others, like CSI student Gabrielle Pelucco, stated, “It’s improved my grades in certain classes and I’m more on top of my work.”

According to our sample size, 43.6% of CSI students have been already vaccinated, while 56.4% have not. 

To follow up on that question, we asked, “If you answered no to the previous question, are you planning on getting vaccinated?” The data collected showed 55.1% of students saying yes, 23.1% stating no and the other 21.8% students remain undecided. 

Due to the questionable controversies and conspiracies surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, we asked CSI students to voice their opinion on if it should be mandatory to resume in-person schooling in the Fall semester. 

The students were divided with their answers between yes or no, polling in at 52.6% saying yes with 47.4% insisting otherwise. 

“I don’t believe they should be mandatory due to many not wanting to get the vaccine. Many are still extremely skeptical about the vaccine and their health and choose not to do so.” said an anonymous survey taker. “I believe it should be optional and based on preference. People shouldn’t be forced to do something they’re not comfortable with.” 

“Unless there are specific medical reasons one cannot get vaccinated, everyone should be vaccinated just to ensure safety and create herd immunity,” said another anonymous voice. “We need to prevent the spread of an illness that spreads rapidly.” 

CSI’s Provost had sent an email communication out on the one year after the shutdown regarding campus reopening protocol. As it currently stands, CSI will re-open with a capacity of 25%, with most students remaining online. 

Since the email, there has not been much communication from CUNY officials directed towards students about covid, or regarding the updated vaccination news. There has been no statement issued following Cuomo’s press conference.

Mandatory vaccinations for all college students keep students hopeful for getting back safely into the classrooms and for clubs to meet again in person. As for CSI, the Fall 2021 semester looks like it will only be at 25% of students on campus, and the rest will continue their online education. 

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