SUNY Chancellor eases outdoor masking for vaccinated individuals

(Original Photos from and SUNY Cortland).

Press release from

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced SUNY campuses will adopt the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to ease outdoor mask requirements for vaccinated individuals. Students, faculty, and staff on SUNY’s campuses who are fully vaccinated (two weeks following the final dose of any vaccine regimen) may now gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues. The guidance is effective immediately for the final weeks of the spring semester and any upcoming summer classes on campus.

The updated guidance is here, and includes:

  • People who are not yet fully vaccinated must continue to mask up on campus, with the following exceptions:
    • in private residential or personal spaces
    • when eating meals on campus while seated and social distancing is appropriately enforced
    • when by themselves
  • Masking is still required for all classroom settings and commencements

As more vaccination options are made available across New York State, SUNY is urging students to get vaccinated so that campuses may lift restrictions for more students this fall. SUNY launched a #DoTheRightThing campaign today for students on the updated guidance, as well as reaffirm health and safety protocols.

"The last 14 months have been an all-hands-on-deck effort to control the spread of COVID, including weekly testing, masks, and limited in-person contact with classmates, professors, and friends," said Chancellor Malatras. "With vaccination rates increasing, easing mask requirements outdoors represents a first step toward restoring more normalcy on our campuses. As we set our sights on the fall semester—and reopening our campuses, we hope to be able to lift many more COVID-related restrictions in the weeks and months to come. The extent of those changes will depend largely on our students, faculty, and staff and their willingness to get the vaccine. We urge everyone in our SUNY community to take advantage of expanding opportunities to get the vaccine, so that we can continue to move toward a more normal fall semester."

SUNY campuses have been or are currently conducting exit COVID testing for the semester so that students may go home knowing that they won’t be bringing the virus with them. To date through the 2020-2021 academic year, SUNY has conducted nearly 2.2 million COVID-19 tests with a low positivity rate of 0.42 percent. The 7-day rolling average at SUNY is 0.18 percent versus 2 percent statewide.