COVID-19 Updates

Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions/plans for the fall

Publication Date

Dear Union College Community,

As we end the academic year and begin our summer work, we write to share changes in our guidelines and plans for the fall. Given the many sacrifices and changes it took to help our campus successfully navigate the last 15 months, we are pleased to share our plans to relax restrictions while continuing to ensure the safety of our community.

Relaxing Restrictions - On June 15, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State reached an important milestone in the pandemic with seventy percent of adults having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, New York State has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions for most industries, including colleges and universities. We are pleased to announce the following changes, effective immediately:

  • Masks and social distancing are no longer required. Any individuals who are at increased risk for severe complications related to COVID-19 or who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to mask and distance.
  • Daily health attestation (emocha) is no longer required. We will still be using emocha to track vaccinations. Please upload your vaccination records upon receiving your COVID-19 shots, if you have not done so already.
    • If you are feeling unwell, please notify your supervisor and refrain from coming to campus, especially if you have recently been exposed to someone who has symptoms consistent with or tested positive for COVID-19.
    • If you or someone you have been exposed to tests positive for COVID-19, please email Gwen Pulvirent at pulvireg@union.edu and Bonnie Mortensen-Szczerba at mortensb@union.edu so that the College can perform contact tracing, quarantine any exposed employees (if not fully vaccinated) and monitor for transmission of COVID-19 on campus.
  • Occupancy Levels - We are returning to our regular building occupancy and capacity levels for all spaces, including classrooms, dining halls, and meeting spaces.
  • Travel - Employees and students who are fully vaccinated are allowed to travel within the United States for College business without restrictions. Please consult our revised travel policy for additional details. Guidance for international travel will be forthcoming.

Preparing for Fall Term - We are planning for a full return to in-person learning on campus in the fall. The College intends to follow the CDC’s recently released Guidance for Institutions for Higher Education as a fully vaccinated campus. To ensure a successful return:

  • Vaccination Requirements
    • Students - As announced in May, effective July 1, the College will require all continuing and incoming students to be vaccinated before engaging with campus.
    • Employees - By August 15, all faculty and staff, including temporary employees, are required to be fully vaccinated. If you have not already been vaccinated, please schedule your vaccine. In addition, the Human Resources office will post the vaccination policy on the HR website and will send a note to employees who have not yet recorded a vaccination in emocha to share more information.
  • Return to Campus
    • Supervisors should work with their staff now to develop a return-to-campus plan that meets the needs of both the College and employees. Employees are expected to return to campus no later than August 30, 2021.
    • New Flexible Work Policy - Based on feedback we heard through PMT2021, we are developing a policy that would identify the conditions under which employees would be eligible for a range of flexible work options. While our in-person, residential experience will continue to be a hallmark of a Union College education, we believe that it is important to implement some of the lessons learned from remote work during the pandemic. We are finalizing this policy and will share more information soon.

We understand you may have additional questions as you think about your return to campus and our plans for the fall. Please continue to email covid19@union.edu with your ideas and questions. Thank you for being diligent in adhering to our COVID-19 safety protocols during the past year. Please stay safe and have a healthy, happy summer!


Regards,

Beth R. Glassman
Interim Chief Human Resources Officer

Strom Thacker
Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs