Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
CUNY's Vaccination Policy
Q: Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take classes on campus this fall?
A: The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021, triggering a 45-day final deadline for students attending in-person or hybrid classes to be fully vaccinated, unless they have been granted a religious exception or medical exemption. Students now have until September 27, 2021, to upload proof of vaccination in CUNYfirst, so that it can be verified and approved by the 45-day deadline of Oct. 7. You must upload that information to CUNYfirst even if you had previously submitted proof to the College. You will not be considered to have submitted proof of a COVID vaccination until it is submitted via CUNYfirst.
Those who do not, per CUNY policy, will be subject to potential academic withdrawal that could also impact their financial aid and might not be eligible for refunds for the course.
Until the deadline, unvaccinated students who have on-campus classes will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test to access campus. The test must be taken at a CUNY testing site no more than seven days before attending any on-campus class sessions or visiting the campus for any reason. IMPORTANT: Results from non-CUNY sites will not be accepted. Visit cuny.edu/vaxfaq for more details regarding CUNY's vaccination policy.
Q: I've already received my vaccine. Can I submit proof of my COVID-19 vaccination now?
A: Yes! Students who are fully vaccinated should upload proof of their vaccination into CUNYfirst as soon as possible using the Vaccination Verification portal. Even if you previously emailed proof of vaccination to the College, you will still need to upload it to CUNYfirst. You will not be considered to have submitted proof of a COVID vaccination until it is submitted via CUNYfirst. For a visual step-by-step guide to submitting information to CUNYfirst, click here. If you have any questions, please email MED.Requirements@lehman.cuny.edu.
Q: How do I apply for a medical exception or religious exemption?
A: You can submit a request for a medical exemption or religious exception, along with supporting documentation, at CUNYfirst. Students requesting an exemption for medical reasons will be required to submit a COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Request Form signed by a healthcare provider. Students requesting an exception for religious reasons will be required to submit a written statement explaining how immunization conflicts with the student’s religious beliefs. Exemptions and exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are not automatically granted. For more information, visit cuny.edu/vaxfaq.
Q: I am an international student, and I did not receive one of the vaccines approved in the U.S.; however, I am fully vaccinated. Will you accept proof of having received this non-U.S.-approved vaccine?
A: If your vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and you are considered fully vaccinated as specified in the WHO approval, you are fully vaccinated under CUNY policy. You can share proof of vaccination through the CUNYfirst portal. If for some reason you have received a vaccine that is not approved by the FDA or WHO, you should immediately contact your campus Location Vaccine Authority (LVA) to determine the appropriate course of action. Contact information for the LVA’s in all campuses is available here. For more, visit cuny.edu/vaxfaq.
Q: Where can I get the vaccine?
A: Lehman College is a New York City vaccination site and offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on its VAX BUS every day, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., through Sunday, September 12. The bus is located outside Gate 7 at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, N.Y. Aside from Lehman, there are multiple places across the city and state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For a list of locations, check out NYC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.
Q: Do I need one shot of the vaccine or two shots?
A: This depends on which type of vaccine you receive. Two of the vaccines available in the U.S—Pfizer and Moderna—require two shots approximately three weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot. Therefore, if you receive only one shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, you are neither fully vaccinated nor fully protected against the virus; you are only fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive the second shot.
Campus Facilities and Events
Q: Where can I enter campus?
A: You may enter campus at Gate 8 on Bedford Park Boulevard West; Gate 5, on Goulden Ave., or Gate 13 on Jerome Ave. You can pull up a campus map on the Lehman Mobile App or find the map here.
Public Safety Officers will be stationed at each gate to process individuals coming onto campus. You may not gain access to campus for any reason if you have not either submitted proof of your vaccination to CUNYfirst or be able to show proof of a negative test administered by a CUNY testing center within the past seven days.
Q: I submitted COVID vaccine proof to CUNYfirst. What do I do when I come to campus?
A: If you've already submitted proof of your COVID-19 vaccination to CUNYfirst, you may enter simply by swiping your ID card; or if you do not have a physical card, you may scan your digital ID, which you can access via Lehman 360. Please plan to arrive on campus at least an hour before your class or scheduled appointment as we are rolling out new campus access systems and anticipate lines at the entry gates.
Q: Do I still need to use the symptom checker on the Everbridge app?
A: The symptom tracker feature of the Everbridge app that was required to gain access to the campus during the spring semester has been discontinued for the fall. In its place, the Everbridge app will now display a CUNY VaxPass for those who have successfully submitted and verified their vaccination information in CUNYfirst. Once your proof of vaccination has been approved in CUNYFirst, you may then use your Lehman ID card to access campus, either with the physical card or with a digital ID card. (Login to Lehman360 to access your digital ID—just click the blue card icon on the homepage.) If you do not have your ID to enter campus, you may show your VaxPass via the Everbridge app. You will only see a VaxPass icon in the Everbridge app if you’ve submitted proof of vaccination and it has been approved in CUNYfirst. For simple, one-time setup instructions on accessing the CUNY Vax Pass, please check the VaxPass User Setup Guide. If you have any issues in setting up the Everbridge VaxPass contact the IT Help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What if I need parking?
A: Student parking will be available in the North/Student Lot; faculty and staff parking will be available in the South Lot or Paul Ave. There will not be a charge for parking in August. The College will send additional updates about parking for the remainder of the fall semester in the weeks ahead.
Q: Where can I go on campus to study in between sessions or take an online class?
A: There will be various spaces throughout campus that students can reserve to study or take an online class. These include the Library, the IT Open Center, and the Carman Hall Tech Lounge. These spaces are operating at reduced capacity and require a reservation in advance using the LibCal system found on their websites. The Café at Carman Hall has been reserved as a location for students who are on campus for in-person classes who need a space to take an online class. Please reserve a space using the LibCal reservation system, and bring your laptop and/or headset. If you don’t have a laptop and headset, loaners will be available.
Q: Are there COVID requirements for dorm residents?
A: All residence hall residents must be vaccinated—unvaccinated individuals will not be permitted to reside in any CUNY residence hall or dorm. Students will not be allowed visitors, and social gatherings will be limited to outdoors. Click here for more.
Q: Can we still use the tunnels?
A: No; the College is reserving use of the tunnels for mail and service deliveries. There will also be intermittent closings of the tunnels between Davis Hall and Carman Hall related to construction for the new nursing facility.
Q: Will there be in-person student events this semester?
A: Among other things, in-person campus events/activities will have limited group sizes and staggered schedules—those that can’t will be held online. Click here to learn more.
Q: How will student services be affected?
A: Students will have the option to schedule one-on-one appointments via phone or zoom or in-person services for offices within the division of Student Affairs, including UMLP, Wellness, Campus Life, the Health Center, CUNY Edge, Counseling, and Student Disability Services. The Lehman Food Bank will also be available for in-person service in Fall 2021. For administrative offices, advisors, and student services, their hours of operation, and contact information click here.
Q: How can I request a loaner laptop for my studies?
A: Students who need a laptop or tablet in order to complete coursework can request one here.
Q: Where can I get a COVID test?
A: Applied DNA Clinical Labs LLC (ADCL), through its safeCircle™ program, will oversee testing for CUNY students and employees. The testing will be available at 20 CUNY testing sites throughout the five boroughs, including Lehman College. Students are required to test through this program. Test results will be processed within 24 hours (48 hours on weekends) and can be accessed by computer or smartphone. However, in anticipation of any delays please give yourself more time to receive the results prior to your scheduled class or appointment on campus. Results from non-CUNY testing sites cannot be used to gain access to CUNY campuses or facilities.
The Lehman College test site is located in a testing trailer in the Science Hall parking lot on Goulden Avenue (directly across the street from the High School of American Studies). Access is via Gate 6 (Science/Gillet gate) where an officer will be present to allow access to individuals with an appointment. You will only be given access close to your scheduled test time. Testing days/times: Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday 1–4 pm; and Friday 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Q: How can I sign up for CUNY's testing program?
A: ADCL has retained the Cleared4 health verification management system to provide a platform students can use to register for the testing program, schedule a test appointment, receive test results, and display proof of testing. Cleared4 will send you an email with details on how to enroll in the testing program.
To make an appointment for COVID-19 testing at a CUNY test site, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Locate the Cleared4 “welcome email” sent to your preferred email address listed in your CUNYfirst account from email@example.com.
Step 2: Open the email and click on the appointment link. This will take you to the Cleared4 site. NOTE: This is YOUR PERSONAL LINK and can only be used by you to book appointments.
Step 3: Once on the Cleared4 site, you must fully register for the site. This includes accepting the disclaimer AND filling out EVERY FIELD in your profile. You can access your profile by clicking on the settings gear in the upper right-hand corner of your home page. Click save when you’re done.
Step 4: You will now be able to book an appointment. Note: You may be asked to answer a pre-test survey before your visit.
Step 5: Bring your EMPL ID#, CUNY ID, and appointment confirmation email/text to each of your testing appointments.
If you checked your SPAM folder and do not see an email from Cleared4, please visit www.adnas.com/CUNYhelp. If the link does not work use another browser or try the link from a computer if you are using your phone. Once you gain access to the link for help, press Click Here for Customer Support Desk, then click New Support Ticket to type in your problem/question. When you are done hit submit.
Students under the age of 18 must obtain parental/guardian consent to receive results from the testing program. Students will be allowed to schedule appointments and submit samples prior to receipt of consent if necessary.
Q: Do I have to wear a mask?
A: You must wear a face mask inside all CUNY campuses and office buildings. This includes while working in a non-enclosed space such as a cubicle or other open seating, regardless of physical distance from others. The only exceptions to wearing a mask indoors are:
- If a fully vaccinated person is alone in an enclosed space such as an office, conference room, or dorm room.
- In a classroom, if a vaccinated professor is teaching a class and is able to keep social distance from everyone else in the class, he or she may choose not to wear a mask.
- Briefly while eating or drinking, provided social distancing is maintained
You must also wear a mask outdoors on campus, when unable to maintain physical distance from others, unless you are unvaccinated. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and outdoors at all times while on campus, including in enclosed spaces, except briefly when eating or drinking (in which case they must maintain strict social distancing from other individuals). When classes begin, students who are not vaccinated will be further required to maintain social distancing between themselves and all others in a classroom.
Q: Who do I notify on campus if I believe I have COVID-19 and may have exposed other members of the Lehman community?
A: Any employee or visitor who has been on campus who becomes ill with COVID-19, or who learns that they have had contact with an individual who has COVID-19, should inform the College: Employees should inform their supervisors immediately; visitors should contact Lehman College Public Safety at 718-960-8593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What should I do if I have developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
A: If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should immediately contact your health care provider. Your health care provider could screen you over the phone, and will work with public health officials to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19 virus. Students who need help connecting to a health care provider can contact Lehman College Student Health Center at 718-960-8900, can answer questions and make referrals. You can also call 311 to locate the closest city-operated hospital.
Q: What do I do if I feel anxious about the virus?
A: Members of our community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. Any student who feels anxious or worried about friends and family because of the COVID-19 virus should contact the Counseling Center, or Student Affairs at email@example.com or 718-960-8242.
COVID-19 Reporting and FERPA
The federal Family Education Protection Act (“FERPA”) protects student privacy and personally identifiable information (“PII”) in student records. All educational agencies and institutions, from public schools to postsecondary institutions such as Lehman College, that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education must comply with FERPA law.
To ensure appropriate information is disseminated to staff and government agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has generated FAQs in order to help the College protect student privacy while protecting the community at large.
Q: What Should I Do When I Have Information Related to Students Who May Have Tested Positive for COVID-19?
A: If you learn that a student may be ill with COVID-19, please reach out to Dean Bazile at Stanley.Bazile@lehman.cuny.edu. If you learn of a faculty member or staff member who is ill or is caring for someone ill with COVID, please contact Lehman’s Office of Human Resources (either Dawn.Ewing-Morgan@lehman.cuny.edu or Eric.Washington@lehman.cuny.edu ). We have also set up a reporting email address, Covid19.Reporting@lehman.cuny.edu.
Do not disclose health information about a student to colleagues or other students in the class. Information you learn about a student’s health may be considered protected under FERPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which is a law related to the privacy of health records among other things, or both. Disclosure of this information harms not only the student affected but may also harm the Lehman community at large.
Removing a student’s name from communication regarding that student is not enough to “remove PII” from the record, and disclosure may violate FERPA.
One of the exceptions to the rule that student records with PII cannot be disclosed is where there is a health or safety emergency. In such discreet instances, the College may release records that contain PII, but it can only be disseminated to those who have a need to know the information for the health or safety of student/campus.
You may not disclose student information to entities outside College staff, they are not considered staff with a legitimate interest in the information.
Q: I am a faculty member who has tested positive for COVID-19, what information can be relayed to my students?
A: Nothing in FERPA prevents the College from telling students or staff that a specific faculty member or other staff member has COVID-19 because FERPA applies to students’ education records, not records on school officials. Nonetheless, the College will endeavor to keep, to the extent possible, such information confidential.
Q: What is considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?
A: The term “PII” refers to a student’s name or identification number, as well as other information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity either directly or indirectly through linkages with other information. 34 C.F.R. § 99.3, “Personally identifiable information.”
FERPA prohibits the College from disclosing PII from students’ education record without the prior written consent of a parent or “eligible student,” unless an exception to FERPA’s general consent rule applies. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1232g(b)(1) and (b)(2); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.30 and 99.31. Simply removing a student’s name does not remove all personally identifying information.
Q: Is there an exception under FERPA if there is a “Health or Safety Emergency”?
A: Under FERPA, the College may disclose a student record if there is an ongoing Health or Safety emergency on campus such as COVID-19.
This exception is limited to the duration of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable (“PII”) about the student. Typically, law enforcement officials, public health officials, trained medical personnel, parents (including parents of an eligible student), and College personnel who have a need to know the information are the types of appropriate parties to whom PII from education records may be disclosed under this exception. The College performs a case-by-case analysis regarding whether the information should be disclosed, to whom, and how much.
Q: If I remove a student’s name from a record, can I disclose the information I learn from a student to people outside the College?
A: No, under FERPA, simply removing a student’s name from a record is not enough to ensure student privacy.
The test for whether a student record contains PII is whether a college community member could ascertain the identity of the student from viewing the modified record. Ironically, the more notorious an incident or event is, the more information from that must be redacted to ensure that all PII is removed. Information such as major, class/section assignment, dorm assignment, or extracurricular activity participation may, on its own, not be enough to render a record identifiable. If the incident is notorious on campus, then this normally benign data may provide a member of the community with enough information to render the record personally identifiable.
Q: Is the College able to disclose without consent the names, addresses, and phone numbers of absent students or students who reported to contracted COVID-19 to the public health department to assess the students’ illnesses?
A: Yes. FERPA permits the College to non-consensually disclose to the public health department contact information of absent students or students who reportedly contracted COVID-19 in specific circumstances, such as in connection with a health or safety emergency (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(I); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.31(a)(10) and 99.36). There are some exceptions to this nonconsensual disclosure; for example the College cannot share directory information for all students receiving special education services or other directory information that is linked to non-directory information (e.g., information regarding a students’ illness.)
Therefore, unless a specific FERPA exception applies, educational agencies and institutions should prepare consent forms for parents and eligible students to sign to allow the potential sharing of this type of information if they create, or intend to create, a tracking or monitoring system to identify an outbreak before an emergency is recognized.
Q: If the College learns that a student has tested positive for COVID-19, what information will be disclosed?
A: First, the College will attempt to disseminate information to the College community that does not personally identify the student. This analysis takes into consideration not just a single release of information, but the totality of the circumstances. The College will always aim to release information that, alone or in combination, does not disclose the identity of the ill student.
If the College receives confirmation from a student that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the College will contact those students or staff members who have had direct contact with the student. Direct contact is defined as:
• Sharing a class with a student
• Participating in a laboratory session or,
• Participating in an extracurricular activity such as collegiate or intercollegiate organized sports.
To the best of its ability the College will provide information about the student with those who have had direct contact while balancing the need to provide the community with information and not disclosing the identity of the student.
Q: May the College disclose PII from student education records to outside agencies or groups?
A: No. As explained previously, FERPA only permits nonconsensual disclosures of PII from students’ education records under the health or safety emergency exception to “appropriate parties” (such as public health officials) whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. “Appropriate parties” in this context are normally parties who provide specific medical or safety attention, such as public health and law enforcement officials.
Q: I am a faculty member and I suspect that a student in my class is positive for COVID-19, can I tell another faculty member?
A: While the College appreciates that this is a very stressful time for all of us, we must remember to treat each other with respect. We ask that community members limit their discussions regarding students to staff members who have a need to know the information. If you are concerned for a student’s health and wellbeing, please contact the Dean Stanley Bazile, in the Office of Student Affairs, or your Chair and/or Dean.
While you may want to discuss your concerns with other co-workers, FERPA prevents you from discussing the student’s status with other staff members or students. These individuals do not have legitimate interest in the information and therefore disseminating personally identifiable information violates FERPA.
If you have further questions, contact Bridget Barbera, Office of the Special Counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org