All SUNY and CUNY faculty will be required to be vaccinated when classes resume next semester, and eligible students must be boosted, according to Governor Kathy Hochul’s new plan to address the surge in Covid cases.

While noting that the current wave “is not a wave like the waves of the past,” in that the rate of deaths is lower than during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Hochul said at a press conference on Friday that additional measures are nonetheless necessary to stem the tide.

“I’m not here to say we’re out of it,” Hochul said. “We’re addressing a very serious situation.”

Up to this point faculty and staff at city and state universities had not been required to be vaccinated. Some staffers sought such a requirement in order to protect themselves, and filed a petition.

On Friday, the United University Professions union, which represents some SUNY faculty, applauded Hochul’s move. And a spokesperson for SUNY said “we are currently working closely with the governor’s office and our partners in labor on implementation.”

A sign, from SOMOS, encouraging people to get vaccinated in the Times Square subway station, December 30, 2021

At CUNY, Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said in a statement that as a result of Hochul’s new measures, “we will enable students to keep gaining the many benefits of in-person learning and ensure that CUNY continues to be a key driver of New York’s resurgence.” Ninety-nine percent of the student body in the fall semester complied with the vaccine mandate for students that was already in place, according to CUNY’s figures.

The new rule requires those students who are eligible to now get boosted. Eligibility means six months after Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two months after a Johnson & Johnson shot. The mandate is effective January 15th.

Students must also have a negative test to return to class, and masking rules remain in effect.

Hochul also said on Friday that New York City schools will receive 2 million Covid tests as she urges schools to stay open with frequent testing of students. “We’re gonna keep kids in school,” she said.

She also extended the state’s mask mandate, which was to expire January 15th, through the end of the month. Businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues have the option of requiring that all patrons wear a face covering or show proof of vaccination before entering.