Updated August 2022

We recognize that members of our college community still have questions about returning to campus. Many people may be wondering about the same things. It’s important to us that everyone has accessible information, so we’re sharing answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs).

You can also learn about what we're doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in campus buildings through the Hostos "Ready" page. Details shared under “COVID-19: Protecting Our Community on Campus” are updated as they change.

If there are details you would like to see included on our website, let us know so we can consider adding them! Please send feedback to our COVID-19 Communications email address or through this online form.

For the return to campus in Fall 2022, the three sets of FAQs below (Student, Faculty, and Administrator Questions) have been provided by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Wendy Hensel.

Student Questions
For the most up-to-date information on CUNY COVID-19 guidelines, including key information for students, refer to the CUNY website.
Q: I am a returning student. Do I need to have a negative COVID test before classes start?
A: It depends.
  • All students living in dormitories are required to take a COVID test at one of the CUNY testing site locations before moving in.
  • All athletes are required to take a COVID test at one of the CUNY testing site locations before classes start.
  • Students attending in-person classes or on-campus activities should take a COVID test before the first day of classes. However, students do not need to upload or disclose the results. If you have a positive test, you should not come to campus.
  • Students who are taking online classes with no in person component and will not be on campus are not required to take a test before classes start.
Q: How would I know if I’ve been randomly selected for testing and what do I do if I have been selected?
A: You will receive an email from “cleared4work.com” informing you of your selection. The email will be sent to your preferred email address (as indicated in CUNYfirst). You must take a COVID-19 test at any CUNY testing site within 14 days of the notification. Failure to do so will prevent you from coming onto campus.
Q: I’ve heard that the COVID booster will be required for participation in on-campus classes activities. Is this true? If so, what is the deadline to comply?
A: CUNY encourages all members of the CUNY community to be vaccinated and boosted, but receiving a booster is not currently required for in-person course registration.
Q: My religious/medical exemption was rejected. Is it true that I cannot appeal?
A: All decisions of the committee are final and not subject to appeal. However, you are permitted to reapply if new documentation and information should become available.
Faculty Questions
Q: I know I can’t require students in my class to wear a mask, but I would like to request that they do so. Is that okay?
A: No. Mask wearing is optional on campus. Because of the authority faculty has in a classroom, a request may be interpreted as a requirement. However, you may inform your class that you (the professor) will be wearing a mask and explain why. For example, “I live with
an immunocompromised person and will be wearing a mask in class to keep you and my loved ones safe.”
Q: The CDC recently changed COVID guidelines. Is CUNY following these new CDC guidelines?
A: Please refer to the CUNY COVID-19 site for regular updates to the guidelines.
Q: Can I switch my course modality from the one listed in CUNYfirst?
A: No. Course modality cannot be changed at any time after students have registered.
Q: I am not vaccinated and I do not have a religious or medical exemption. May I keep my Fall 2022 teaching assignment? What if I’m teaching an online class?
A: CUNY requires that all faculty be fully vaccinated to maintain employment (unless they have requested and been granted a religious or medical exemption).
Q: Can offices have reduced hours or coverage?
A: No, all offices must provide coverage during regular operating hours. Remote work agreements may not reduce hours of operation.
Q: Are gathering and meeting spaces open for use? (e.g. cafes, libraries, lounges, etc.)
A: Yes, all gathering and meeting spaces are open for use. Please refer to specific campus sites for specific information on hours of availability.
Q: What is the CUNY policy on student COVID-related absences when syllabi may state that attendance is required?
A: Faculty should show the same flexibility they normally would for any student illness/medical absence.
Administrator questions
Q: Are Department/College Personnel & Budget committees permitted to hold virtual meetings for Fall 2022/Spring 2023?
A: Meetings can continue to take place virtually as long as Governor Hochul’s legislation extending virtual public meetings is in place. Any changes to the legislation will be conveyed to the campus’s executive offices.
Q: Will random testing of vaccinated members of the community continue?
A: CUNY’s random testing protocol is still in place. If anything changes, the CUNY community will be notified and the CUNY COVID-19 site will be updated.
Q: Will colleges be allowed to pivot to online instruction if there is COVID or Monkeypox incline in outbreaks?
A: CUNY will continue to monitor COVID & Monkeypox outbreaks and will provide guidance on any possible changes to course modality. Campuses may not pivot to online instruction without consultation with CUNY OAA/EVC Hensel.

Q: Are there any expectations of report monitoring for Monkeypox similar to what is already in place for the COVID pandemic?
A: At this time CUNY is not required to report monitoring for Monkeypox. If anything changes, campuses will be notified and the CUNY COVID-19 site will be updated.
Q: Many faculty and students may have ignored random testing over the summer and are no longer eligible to enter campus until they test and get a negative result, which may take several days. Will there be any grace period to allow faculty and students to enter campus once they test but are waiting for results?
A: It was assumed that those who did not respond to their Random Testing invitation during the summer were not on campus. As a result, CUNY removed them from the campus restriction list and entered them into the Fall Random Testing pool. They should have access to campus when they arrive. When they are called for random testing in the fall, failure to comply will result in their access pass being denied.

Testing, Vaccines and Boosters

Will vaccines be required?

For students:

For the Fall 2022 semester, students taking in-person or hybrid classes or participating in on-campus activities must be fully vaccinated when the fall term begins. Students must upload proof of being fully vaccinated in CUNYfirst at least ten (10) days before classes begin. If your up-to-date vaccination documents are already approved in CUNYfirst, you do not need to re-submit them.
Students are also strongly encouraged to get a booster shot when they become eligible for one.
Details on the student vaccination policy are available on CUNY’s Coronavirus Page.

There is already a process to handle proof of vaccinations at Hostos, because we already have legally mandated immunization requirements for students and a process for medical or religious exemptions. That means that how we handle proof of COVID-19 vaccinations will build upon existing procedures and experience.

For faculty and staff:

All full- and part-time faculty, non-teaching instructional staff, and ECPs are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (two dose Pfizer or Moderna regimen, or 1 dose J&J) and their proof of vaccination uploaded in to CUNYfirst by May 27, 2022 unless a religious or medical exemption has been approved.

There is no current CUNY requirement for staff other than the PSC and ECP titles mentioned above to be vaccinated.

Faculty and staff who are not vaccinated or do not share proof of vaccination are required to do regular, weekly PCR testing through CUNY's testing program and will need a negative COVID-19 test result to enter. Testing must be done at a CUNY site; results from other providers (rapid or PCR) will not be allowed.

We strongly urge that everyone who can get the COVID-19 vaccination and booster to get them as soon as they're able, regardless of vaccination requirements.

As stated in the NYS COVID-19 vaccination guidelines:

  • New Yorkers 12-years and older who received their Pfizer-BioNTech initial vaccine series at least five (5) months ago are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster.
  • New Yorkers 18 years and older who received the Moderna initial vaccine series at least five (5) months ago or the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least two (2) months ago are eligible for a booster dose.
  • Children 5-11 years old with certain immunocompromising conditions who received their Pfizer-BioNTech initial vaccine series at least 28 days ago are eligible for an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

I heard CUNY has mandatory COVID-19 testing. How will that work?

CUNY is continuing its robust testing program for the safety and convenience of the CUNY community.

  • Overall random testing will move to 10% of the vaccinated and unvaccinated on-campus population.. Participation in the random surveillance testing is mandatory and failure to participate will result in the removal of the individual’s Cleared4 access pass to CUNY spaces.
  • Weekly testing will continue for those who are unvaccinated and expand to cover student athletes, whether vaccinated or not.
  • Student athletes, in addition to being fully vaccinated, will be required to submit a negative COVID test before returning to campus.

For more information about CUNY’s COVID-19 testing program, please see the Testing FAQ.


Do masks need to be worn at all times, even while teaching?

Effective March 7, 2022, CUNY students, faculty, staff, and visitors are not required to wear a mask in any campus setting.  Although no longer mandated, anyone who would like to continuing wearing a mask, is welcome to do so at any time, including individuals who are not vaccinated.  Masks are available and can be requested from Public Safety at the front desk of each Hostos building.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing means keeping at least 6 feet between people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Do we still need to physically distance?

Because students and faculty are expected to be fully vaccinated in the Fall 2022 semester (except for those granted medical or religious exemptions), physical distancing will not be a required safety measure for classroom and educational settings. People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to practice physical distancing.

How often are the HVAC filters changed?

The HVAC filters are changed quarterly, per the manufacturer’s guidance.

Have feedback? Please let us know through our COVID-19 Communications email address or this online form.