ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — College move-in day is right around the corner. Aside from books and backpacks, vaccination cards are the new essentials for students to carry around.

“We’re very excited to welcome back and return to them as a normal experience as they can,” says UAlbany COVID-19 Safety Officer Kevin Wilcox.

For many area colleges, students are required to show full vaccination proof or a negative PCR COVID-19 test before heading back to campus.

“Our residence halls and our town houses, everything will be set up as usual, students are going to be required to be vaccinated but it will be campus life as it used to,” says Siena College Spokesperson Lisa Witkowski.

COVID-19 vaccines are approved under emergency use and have not been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. According to federal officials, a vaccine has to be fully approved by the FDA to be mandated. Schools are hoping for full approval by September. 

“All of our residence living on campus will be required to be vaccinated before they return to campus unless they have a religious or medical exemption that has been approved by the university. All other students will be required to be vaccinated as soon as the FDA approves any of the vaccines being used in the US which we now expect to be early September,” says Wilcox.

As of now, Siena students can say goodbye to remote learning and can also ditch the masks. However, that’s not the case for every local college campus. Students at UAlbany and The College of Saint Rose must wear masks inside all buildings, regardless of vaccination status. “Based on CDC guidance which recommends in counties with substantial spread in the current time which Albany County and surrounding counties are — we have moved back inside all buildings,” says Wilcox.  

College officials are monitoring state and federal guidance as mandates can quickly change.