TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Monday morning, Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) President Roger Ramsammy released a statement saying that the school will comply with SUNY policy that all students get vaccinated. HVCC had intended to make vaccinations optional in order to remove a barrier to higher education, Ramsammy said.
SUNY Press Secretary Holly Liapis responded to Ramsammy’s announcement later on Monday. “We are pleased HVCC has decided to comply with the current vaccine requirements that were established for all SUNY campuses with input from state and federal public health experts to keep our students, faculty, staff, and visitors safe and healthy,” she said.
The union representing faculty at HVCC had loudly pushed back against the school’s decision to make vaccinations voluntary despite a SUNY-wide requirement. According to the union, they have offered to negotiate a staff vaccine requirement for over a year. After HVCC’s decision to enforce the vaccination requirement, the union said in part, “The entire situation could have been avoided had the College simply chosen to continue complying with the SUNY policy, as it had until just over a month ago.”
Check out the full statement from Ramsammy below:
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hudson Valley Community College has ensured a safe learning and working environment for students, faculty, and staff, and supported the greater community’s fight against the virus. Our students have consistently complied with strict regulations and protocols related to COVID-19.
Without an extension on New York State’s Executive Order requiring vaccination for the Fall 2022 semester, on July 13 the college made the decision to not mandate, but still strongly encourage, COVID-19 vaccination for in-person fall semester students.
Our reasons for this decision included: persistent concerns expressed by students and parents; the fact that college faculty, staff, visitors, and high school students on campus are not required to be vaccinated; the reality that the college does not have dormitories or residence halls; the lack of any mandate for area high school students to be vaccinated; and, the fact that most government agencies, businesses, community and not-for-profit organizations no longer require vaccination to participate in in-person activities.
Although our goal was to increase access and remove a barrier to higher education after an extraordinarily difficult time for many students, the college has decided to continue to comply with SUNY’s vaccination policy for the fall semester. In short, permitting vaccination to be optional for in-person students is not feasible at this time. Already, more than 85 percent of fall semester students have submitted proof of vaccination to the college. Those who have not yet provided proof of vaccination or applied for an exemption will be immediately notified on how to submit these documents. We will also continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 as the semester begins and respond in the best interest of our community.”