COVID-19 Information and Safety Guidance

Academic Year 2022-23

Academic Year 2022-23

The Graduate Center community is safer because we all do our part. Our students, faculty, and staff are our most important assets. Our priority is to enable all to teach, research, study and work in the safest place possible.

The Graduate Center recommends following all public health guidance and recommended practices, including staying up to date on vaccinations, staying home when ill, and taking other precautions such as washing hands thoroughly, or wearing a mask. This page contains COVID-19 information that all members of the Graduate Center community need to be familiar with during the 2022-23 Academic Year.

The Graduate Center’s COVID-19 Information and Safety Guidance follows CUNY’s COVID-19 policies. Each CUNY college is required to provide campus-specific guidance, if you have an affiliation with another CUNY college, please visit that campus’ COVID-19 page. If you are teaching, researching or working at the Advanced Science and Research Center, please review the ASRC COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Policies.

CUNY mandates that all students taking in-person and hybrid classes be fulling vaccinated and proof of up-to-date vaccination in CUNYfirst. Maintaining up-to-date vaccination status is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and keep CUNY safe.

Important Information

Contacts and Links

If you have any questions about our guidelines or would like a copy of our 2022-23 academic year plan, please email or see below for further information.

Faculty, staff, and students who are based at the Advanced Science Research Center will find the ASRC’s detailed ramp-up to in-person research plan here.

Empire State Building, NYC buildings

Academic Year 2022-23 COVID-19 Information and Safety Guidance

Updated October 24, 2022

The Graduate Center is committed to preserve the wellness and safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff members. Reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19 on our campus is a community effort that is grounded in mutual respect for each other to foster a safe environment for safe learning, researching and working together. Please refer to the guidelines below for detailed information about vaccination requirements, testing policies, and further COVID-19 information for our campus.


Student Vaccination Mandate Requirements

CUNY mandates that all students taking in-person and hybrid classes must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and upload proof of up-to-date vaccination in CUNYFirst (Student Guide to Vaccination Verification). Maintaining up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination status is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and those with whom you interact with at the Graduate Center.

All students registering for a fully-in person or hybrid class for the 2022 Fall term must upload proof of vaccination to CUNYfirst by ten (10) days before classes begin. Students who do not provide proof of vaccination before classes begin will be de-registered prior to the first scheduled day of classes.

  • To ensure that your proof of vaccination is reviewed and approved in time, upload your documentation to CUNYfirst as soon as you are fully vaccinated. The only exception to this rule is the few students who apply for and are granted medical exemptions or religious exceptions.
  • All students (except those with approved exemptions or exceptions) must have up-to-date vaccination records in CUNYfirst in order to enter any CUNY facility for any reason.
  • If your vaccination documents are already approved in CUNYfirst, you do not need to resubmit them, but they must include proof of being up-to-date, which includes a booster shot once eligible.
  • Requests for medical and religious exemptions are made via the Vaccination Verification portal in CUNYfirst. All questions regarding medical exemptions can be directed to the Graduate Center Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) liaisons via email at All questions regarding religious exceptions can be directed to

Students of the Graduate Center are strongly encouraged to receive vaccine boosters once eligible. Please note the following guidelines for booster eligibility:

  • Those 18 and older are eligible for a booster shot at 5 months after the completion of two dose regimen of Pfizer, 5 months after the completion of two dose regimen of Moderna or 2 months after the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) shot. The Pfizer or Moderna booster is preferred in most situations.
  • Those 12-17 year olds who initially received the Pfizer two dose regimen are eligible for a Pfizer booster 5 months after completing the regimen.
  • Those 12 and older 5 months after the completion of a WHO-approved vaccine that is not authorized by the FDA, or 5 months after completion of a mix and match series of WHO-approved and FDA approved/authorized vaccines.

Additional information can be found at #CantStopCUNY Student Vaccination Mandate FAQ.

A user guide on how to upload proof of vaccination can be found here. Questions about vaccination verification and exemptions can be directed to

Faculty and Staff Vaccination Mandate Requirements

All full and part-time faculty and all non-teaching instructional staff (which includes among others, NTAs, CLTs, CAs, and those in the HEO series), and personnel in the Executive Compensation Plan must be fully vaccinated in order to remain employed by the University, unless granted a religious exception, medical exemption or a reasonable accommodation. Ninety-Four percent of all Graduate Center employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The remaining six percent of Graduate Center employees have been granted a religious exception, medical exemption or a reasonable accommodation and participate weekly in the CUNY-19 Testing Program. Additional information can be found at #CantStopCUNY Faculty & Student Vaccination FAQ.

Please refer to the Office of Human Resources' webpage regarding Flexible Work Guidelines and Procedures for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations. Research Foundation employees should consult the RF CUNY website.

To find a vaccination site in New York City, use the City’s Vaccine Finder. To find a vaccination site in New York State, use the CDC’s Find COVID-19 Vaccines search engine.


PCR tests are available to all CUNY students and employees at no cost. In addition to the COVID-19 testing site located at the Graduate Center on the first floor, there are 19 other COVID-19 testing sites at locations across CUNY. Any CUNY student or employee who needs to be tested for any reason may walk into a site, provide their CUNY ID (EMPLID) or RF ID, and get tested. Results are made available through your Cleared4 account within 24 to 48 hours. 

CUNY’s random testing program for vaccinated students and employees is part of CUNY’s multi-pronged strategy to monitor and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The program complements the mandatory weekly testing for students and employees with accommodations, medical exemptions or religious exceptions. Weekly, 10% of randomly selected, vaccinated individuals from across each campus are contacted to be tested for COVID-19. You will receive an email from when you are selected for random testing. The email provides information about the random testing program and the date by which you are required to comply with testing. For a general FAQ’s on the testing program, visit here.

If you are a student and have questions about the random testing program, campus access or your Cleared4 account, please contact the Graduate Center Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) liaisons via email at If you are an employee, please email the HR liaisons via email at Our teams are comprised of staff from the Student Affairs and Human Resources offices. They are experts on CUNY’s and the GC’s COVID-19 policies and procedures and are the GC team that is in place to provide both staff and students with guidance and assistance.

For members of our community who have a medical exemption or religious exception and for staff who are not vaccinated, CUNY mandates a weekly testing program. If you have questions about this requirement, please contact if you are a student, or if you are an employee. You can check the latest numbers in our COVID-19 Safety Tracker available here.

NYC Health + Hospitals has also made testing available for free on a walk-in only basis and you can find additional New York City COVID-19 Testing sites here. For information about other COVID-19 resources available across New York City, please click here.

Students returning to dorms will be required to be tested before moving in. Questions about the Graduate Center Apartments can be submitted here.

Isolation and Exposure

The Graduate Center is currently following CDC guidelines regarding exposure to COVID-19, quarantine, and isolation requirements.

If you test positive for COVID-19

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status must:

  • Stay home for 5 days (day 0 is your first day of symptoms, or the day of your first positive test if you do not develop symptoms).
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
  • In order to return to CUNY after isolation, you must receive a negative PCR or Antigen test (we strongly recommend an Antigen test, if available).
    • Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.
    • If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. Following day 10 you must receive a negative PCR or Antigen test before returning to CUNY.
    • In lieu of a negative test, individuals may provide a doctor’s certification that they have recovered from COVID-19.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days; if you cannot wear a mask, continue to isolate for 5 days.
  • If you have a fever, continue isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • If you were severely ill with COVID-19 you should isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation.

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • There are no quarantine requirements at this time.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days.
  • Get tested at least 5 days after your close contact (the date of your exposure is considered day 0); if you test positive, stay home and isolate per guidelines above.
  • If your exposure is from someone you live with, you must reach out to your Campus Coronavirus Liaison. Students should email the Local Vaccine Authority at Faculty and staff must contact the HR liaisons at
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test, stay home and follow the isolation guidelines above.

Masking Recommendation

At this time, CUNY does not require face masks. Anyone who would like to continue wearing masks in any settings is welcome to do so at any time. Masks are available on campuses. At the Graduate Center you can request a mask at the front desk and at the main desk in the library (first floor).

Faculty, staff, and students who are unvaccinated are urged to wear a mask at all times.

Health and Safety

For the health and safety of our entire community, we highly recommend to get regular and recurring testing. If you are sick, stay home. If you do not feel better in three days, please consult your health care provider.

You can test regularly through CUNY’s COVID-19 Testing Program. Students, faculty and staff may take a COVID test at no cost at any one of CUNY’s COVID-19 Testing Sites.


Graduate Center students, faculty, and staff should follow the CDC domestic travel recommendations and international travel recommendations before reporting back to work or campus. They will also need notify their manager in advance of the travel dates and should quarantine be required.

Any students, faculty or staff engaging in official travel on behalf of CUNY must follow the latest approval requirements for domestic and international travel.

Consider testing if you have been traveling before returning to campus. The Graduate Center community are always welcome to test, for free, at our testing site located in the Foundation Lounge, Room 1102. For current times of operation, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

CUNY students, faculty, and staff must comply with the University’s vaccine policies. Faculty, staff, and students with verified proof of vaccination will use the CUNY Access Pass in Cleared4 to enter the Graduate Center. Please follow the steps outlined in the Building Entry Policy.

One-day visitors and guests - those who are coming to the Graduate Center for only one day - must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test performed by an accredited lab taken no more than 7 days prior to the visit. One-day visitors may submit proof of vaccination by presenting either a CDC Vaccination Card or the NYS Excelsior Pass or supplying proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test by presenting a copy of the lab results.​ Please see Building Entry Policy for more information.

Once their vaccines have been uploaded and approved on CUNYFirst, students, faculty, staff, and recurring visitors of the Graduate Center will receive an email confirmation from with the subject “Cleared for CUNY Access”. Please check all of your inboxes, as sometimes this message might land on your Junk mail folder.

To register: 

  1. Click on the personal link in the email to begin registration with Cleared4
  2. Once in Cleared4, please read and accept the disclaimer
  3. Provide the requested personal information
  4. Click on the “Show Access Pass” button to attain your Cleared4 CUNY Access Pass

You can access your pass at any time by navigating to your personal link from the registration email. Your Access Pass has your name, date, and your QR code, which is tied to your Cleared4 account. You can pull your personal QR code on your smartphone upon entering the building and scanning into one of the machines located at the front desk of the lobby.

If you do not have a smartphone:

If you don’t have a smartphone or an electronic device, you can also choose to print out a copy of your CUNY Access Pass instead of displaying it on a smartphone. Please note that you must print a new pass each time you come to the Graduate Center, as passes expire daily. 

For more information and common troubleshooting issues, please click here.

  1. Access your pass by navigating to your personal link from the Cleared4 registration email you received to set up your account. Click the "Show Access Pass" button.
  2. With your pass open in the browser:
    • Android - click on the three-dots icon in your browser to access settings, and click “Add to Homepage”
    • iPhone - click on the “Add to Homepage” icon in the bottom menu
  3. Enter the name of your shortcut and click “Add.” You will now be able to access your pass from the shortcut on your home screen at any time.

For additional assistance, watch this quick how-to video.

Note: To obtain a CUNY Access pass, CUNY students and employees must submit proof of vaccination through CUNYfirst. CUNY Research Foundation employees can access the RF Vaccination Verification system here.

Please note that while Cleared4 is the platform required to enter any CUNY Campus or facility, this tool is implemented according to each campus’ entry protocols. At the Graduate Center, students, faculty, staff, and reoccurring visitors are able to enter the building by scanning their QR codes on the kiosks located at the lobby’s front desk. For access requirements to other CUNY schools, please contact the respective Coronavirus Campus Coordinator.

Reporting of all positive cases impacting the Graduate Center community is managed by our LVA and HR liaisons. If a positive case is reported through Cleared4, an LVA member will reach out to students. In the case of employees, an HR liaison will follow up with staff and faculty.

CUNY students, faculty and staff who test for COVID-19 through a CUNY testing site will receive their test results through their Cleared4 account. Those who test positive will have their Cleard4 CUNY Access Pass revoked until they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or medical clearance by their doctor. Students who test positive through CUNY’s testing program will be contacted by one of the Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) liaisons. Faculty and staff who test positive through CUNY’s testing program will be contacted by one of the HR liaisons.

Members of the Graduate Center community who test positive for COVID-19 through an external, non-CUNY site or facility (i.e. home-test kit, urgent care room, ambulatory testing sites) should contact the appropriate liaison via email, and forward a copy of the positive test result. One of the Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) team members will follow up with students reporting either symptoms or a positive COVID test result. One of the Graduate Center HR liaisons will follow up with employees reporting either symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result. The LVA team or HR liaisons will aid in identifying exposures and notify close contacts of the exposure as soon as possible after being notified that someone on campus has tested positive for or has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) is responsible for implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Program on each campus and is responsible for validating student vaccination status. Students may contact with questions regarding vaccination status, documentation, and exemptions.

The GC Office of Human Resources is responsible for validating CUNY employee vaccination status, reviewing requests for medical exemptions, and supporting faculty and staff as they get back to in-person instruction and work on campus. CUNY’s Getting Back to Working in Person and Learning on Campus Frequently Asked Questions provides information for employees about returning to work. Faculty and staff who are vaccinated will upload verification of their vaccination information into their CUNYfirst account. Employees should direct their questions to

Note: If you are an employee who is registered as a CUNY student at the Graduate Center or another CUNY school, your student status supersedes your employee status, and your vaccination records will need to be approved by the Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) liaisons at the campus where you are enrolled. You can reach out to the LVA at the campus where you are a student. See the LVA roster here.

Employees of the CUNY Research Foundation (RF) may contact the PI of your RFCUNY project or visit RFCUNY Coronavirus Guidance. Please note that employees who have submitted proof of full vaccination will receive an email invite from CLEARED4, which will give them access to the CUNY Access Pass.

If you are a guest or visitor who is or will be coming to the Graduate Center for multiple visits please email

For further information on building access for non-CUNY guests, please visit Building Entry Policy.

If your vaccine is approved by the WHO and you are considered fully vaccinated as specified in the WHO approval, you are fully vaccinated according to the CUNY policy. Any questions should be directed to the Office of International Students.

Please note that while your Cleared4 CUNY account and Access Pass validate your health status, they do not confirm your affiliation to the Graduate Center. If you are a new student or a new hire and need a Graduate Center ID card, please:

  1. Email from your Graduate Center email address. Enter “ID Card” in the subject line.
  2. The email body must contain your name as it appears in CUNYfirst, your program or department, EMPLID, and your mailing address.
  3. Attach a “passport type headshot” JPEG picture taken within the past six months.
  4. Your Graduate Center ID card will be sent to you in the mail. Please note that Public Safety and Mail Room staffing is limited at this time so there may be a delay in mailing out Graduate Center ID cards

You can also make an appointment to come in to campus to be issued an ID in person by emailing from your Graduate Center email address to request an appointment.

For the vast majority of students who are fully vaccinated, and all other vaccinated members of the CUNY community, physical distancing will not be a required safety measure for classrooms, educational settings, and offices at the Graduate Center. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to practice physical distancing of 6 feet.

Pantries are open with capacity limits and personal items cannot be stored in cabinets. There are vending machines in the dining commons and members of the GC community are welcome to use the dining commons as a place to eat and relax. Food is not allowed in research labs, recital halls, or the library. At this time, there is no on-campus food service available through Café 365 or the dining commons.

The Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will procure face coverings and other Protective Equipment, and coordinate distribution. Face coverings will be available at the main lobby desk and at the loading dock safety command post. The Offices of Facilities Services and Campus Planning and Property Management will manage the inventory of PPE: face coverings (masks), hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Divisions and departments can contact the Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning to request PPE at

IT and media support can be initiated via email at itservices@gc.cuny.edulive chat, or Self Service.

Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.

For the Fall 2022 semester, the Graduate Center’s COVID-19 testing site, located on the first floor, Room 1101 by the 365 Express Café, can be accessed on the following days and times: 

Times of operation


6:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.


3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.


3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.



Walk-ins are accepted, and there is no need to make an appointment to get tested. For other CUNY testing locations and hours, please click here.

CUNY Resources

For more information about the University’s COVID-19 efforts, please visit CUNY COVID-19 Information

Recent Updates

Sep 28, 2022

Building Entry Policy

The Graduate Center is committed to maintaining safe, COVID-free classrooms and shared spaces for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. To enter the Graduate Center and...

Apr 26, 2022

GC Forward #17: Get Tested, Stay Safe

Dear Graduate Center community, Welcome back from spring break. We encourage everyone, especially those returning from travel, to take advantage of the free, on-site COVID-19...

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