(WETM) – Students returning to SUNY or CUNY campuses in the spring semester will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot by January 15, 2022.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the decision during her New Years’ Eve. COVID-19 briefing.

Faculty at SUNY and CUNY schools must also be fully vaccinated according to the new guidelines outlined by Governor Hochul.

“This is how we ensure these campuses stay open,” said Governor Hochul.

The Governor also announced an on-campus mask requirement going into the new semester, as well as a rule that students bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning. Schools must also have quarantine and isolation policies that are aligned with state and CDC guidelines, as well as report random sampling all semester.

The SUNY COVID-19 case tracker reports that 13,330 on-campus COVID-19 tests have returned as positive, a 0.45 percent rate. Nearly 3,000,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered on SUNY campuses.

United University Professions President Fred E. Kowal issued the following statement in response to Governor Hochul’s latest vaccination mandate. 

“United University Professions has long supported efforts to get the entire SUNY community vaccinated, not only for the health and safety of students, staff and UUP members, but also for the benefit of all New Yorkers, which is why we applaud Governor Hochul’s latest effort announced today. For this approach to be successful and make our communities safer, this needs to be done right. We’ve successfully worked through this process with the Governor when vaccines for our members at the SUNY hospitals were mandated. Our campuses are some of the safest places in New York, in no small part because UUP has been successful at encouraging members to be vaccinated. This can be seen in the high vaccination rate of our members at over 90 percent. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and her staff to discuss this plan and negotiate its implementation to ensure the hard fought and won due process rights of our members are protected, while also ensuring the health and safety of the communities we serve.”

According to the New York State Department of Health, 95 percent of New Yorkers 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but only 83 percent have received both doses.