Information for All Community Members
On March 29, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new groups that would be eligible for the vaccine:
- New Yorkers 12 Years of Age and Older Can Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated
For the most up-to-date information on vaccine eligibility or to register, please visit the New York State vaccine website.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, we expect all campus community members to:
- Continue to wear a mask (the CDC has issued additional guidance about mask wearing)
- Maintain social distancing
- Stay home when you are sick
- Keep your hands and space clean
- Attend your regular COVID-19 test appointment
- Provide complete and truthful information about your contacts if you test positive
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
The CDC considers an individual to be fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after receiving their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
Is the COVID-19 vaccination required for St. Lawrence students for the 2021-22 academic year?
Yes, with limited exceptions. St. Lawrence intends to require vaccination for students – undergraduate and graduate -- to be fully vaccinated as a condition of having access to its campus (all buildings inclusive of residential, non-residential and academic) effective at least 14 days before arrival on campus. We anticipate that this requirement will extend to the Adirondack Semester, Sustainability Semester, and off-campus and study abroad experiences that may continue.
New York State has fully expanded vaccine eligibility and other states are following this same trend, as well as increasing vaccine production. It is clear that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer.
Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but the expectation is that we will be a University community of largely vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all. This will also allow students to fully access classes and minimize NYS quarantine protocols based on exposure.
Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for St. Lawrence employees?
At this time, employees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. As of May 1, over 55 percent of our employees (including 81% of the faculty) report being fully vaccinated or having received a first of two doses. Because employees do not live in congregate settings with one another or with students, we believe their vaccination rates, on the way to herd immunity, create a safe environment.
Why is COVID-19 vaccination being required of students?
Throughout the pandemic, the safety of our community has been our highest priority. With the advice, counsel, and recommendations of the CDC, New York State Department of Public Health, St. Lawrence Health System, and the St Lawrence County Board of Health we have accessed and relied upon the most up-to-date scientific information available to make informed decisions about our operations.
St. Lawrence’s decision is aligned with recommendations from the American College Health Association, which made a statement last week recognizing that comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective way for institutions of higher education to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience for students in the fall semester 2021. The vaccination requirement for student members of our campus community is to protect the health and safety of our community—and the greater communities where we have operations —to the fullest extent possible and to enable our students to engage in person and more fully in all aspects of university life than they have since the beginning of the pandemic.
It is not uncommon for universities to mandate that students be vaccinated against dangerous diseases that can transmit easily throughout the student population on a residential campus. As is the case with all vaccination requirements, there will be an option for students to request religious and medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
What if I can’t get access to a vaccination approved in the USA?
Individuals who are not able to obtain vaccination prior to being on campus, or whose vaccination is not recognized by New York State, will be expected to be vaccinated as soon after their arrival as possible. The Student Health Center can help accommodate those students with a plan for immediate vaccination and frequent testing until immunity.
NYS Public Health Law Section 2165 and NYCRR Title 10, Subpart 66-2 require students attending post-secondary institutions, who were born on or after January 1, 1957, and registered for 6 or more credit hours, to demonstrate proof of immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. Public Health Law Section 2165 provides for medical and religious exemptions to immunization.
NYS Public Health Law Section 2167 requires post-secondary institutions to distribute, on a form provided or approved by the NYS Commissioner of Health, written information about meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal immunization to each student who is enrolled for at least 6 semester hours. This section also requires each such student to certify that they have already received immunization against meningococcal meningitis or that they have received and reviewed the information provided by the institution, understand the risks of meningococcal meningitis and the benefits of immunization, and have decided not to obtain the meningococcal vaccine.
How do I request a medical or religious exemption?
Contact the Student Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the exemption process.
How can I upload Proof of Vaccination?
Students should upload their proof of vaccination to the health portal Medicat. St. Lawrence will hold instructional webinars for new students.
How will vaccination data be used?
Your proof of vaccination information will be used to prevent and respond to the presence of COVID-19 on campus and to comply with federal, local and public health guidelines. The information will be maintained in accordance with all applicable laws and public health regulations.
Will there be a full-remote/virtual option for students who are enrolled in the fall but are not vaccinated?
We do not expect to offer a fully remote, full educational semester for students in the next academic year.
I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to show proof of vaccination before moving in for the fall?
If I have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, can I still receive the vaccine?
Yes, as long as you have been released from isolation, are no longer symptomatic and have been medically cleared by a doctor after having COVID-19, you are able to get vaccinated. You do not have to wait until 90 days after your diagnosis. As long as you are not actively sick, you are able to get the vaccine. If you have any questions, students contact Health Services at email@example.com.
Can vaccinated guests visit campus?
Not at this time. In order to best protect all members of our community, our Campus Visitor Policy is still in place. Thanks for helping us protect our campus and the North Country!
How to Get Vaccinated
Where can I get vaccinated?
In New York State, sign up here. https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ If you are a St. Lawrence student or employee, you are eligible regardless of your state of residence. Here is more information about New York State’s vaccine program: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
What COVID-19 vaccines are available in St. Lawrence County?
The FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which require two doses for effectiveness, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which requires one dose for effectiveness. All are available in St. Lawrence County.
Will I have to pay to be vaccinated?
No, not if you receive your vaccination in the United States. The US federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccination free of charge, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.
Can any student get vaccinated in St. Lawrence County?
Yes! Once a student becomes eligible, they can use their local address (St. Lawrence address) to get vaccinated in St. Lawrence County.
If students are able to make appointments at off-campus vaccination sites, can the University provide transportation?
Yes. Transportation Services will take students to the vaccination site. Please confirm availability prior to booking your vaccination appointment.
Can employees schedule their vaccination during regular work hours?
Per state law, employees who must schedule their vaccination during regular work hours are eligible for up to four hours of pay for vaccine appointments that occur during regular work hours. Please contact Human Resources about your appointment notice and timing to plan for payment.
General Vaccine & Testing Information
Do campus community members who have been vaccinated need to continue testing?
Yes! There has been a lot of positive news about the success of the vaccination, but 90% efficacy is not 100% efficacy. Those who have been both partially and fully vaccinated can still contract and test positive for COVID-19.
Are the vaccines under emergency use authorization?
Vaccine makers have applied for full authorization. In a public health emergency, manufacturing and approval of vaccines can be streamlined through an Emergency Use Authorization or EUA. An EUA does not affect vaccine safety, because it does not impact development, such as research, clinical studies and the studying of side effects and adverse reactions. Instead, it speeds up manufacturing and administrative processes. All vaccines follow the same testing process, whether they are approved for emergency use or through a typical license. To learn more about EUA, please visit: https://vaccine.unchealthcare.org/science/vaccine-approval/whats-the-difference-between-fda-emergency-use-authorization-and-fda-approval/ or https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/emergency-use-authorization-vaccines-explained
Where are some credible sources of information on vaccines available and their safety, efficacy and health benefits?
Regional health experts point to information posted on the CDC website on all three approved vaccinations in the USA and outlines the composition of the vaccines and how they work; with links to more detailed information, including their safety.