Dear PSC Members,
I have a few short updates on availability of COVID vaccines, and I will keep sharing information as we receive it.
Thank you for the many kind responses the union has received to my previous messages about the vaccine. We are trying to answer individual questions as well as we can, but the information from Albany changes every day.
- Professional Staff: The PSC leadership, together with our statewide affiliate, continues to press the governor’s office for a clear, official statement that “in-person college instructors” includes professional staff. The presentation given by the Governor’s Office last night listed “In-Person College Faculty and Instructors” as included in Phase 1B. The Governor’s Office reports that they are working on a clarification.
- Professional staff who are required to work in person who want to receive the vaccine may want to sign up now to request an appointment so that your appointment is in place by the time your eligibility is confirmed. Several college Human Resources Offices have also informed faculty and staff that they are working on providing further information to employees requesting proof of on-campus work, should such proof be requested.
- Eligibility Expanded Today: New Yorkers 65 and Over + Immunocompromised: Governor Cuomo announced this morning that New Yorkers age 65 and over are now eligible to receive the vaccine, as a result of new federal guidance. New guidance from the federal government also indicates that immunocompromised New Yorkers should also be eligible now, though as of this morning the State was still working to define “immunocompromised” for these purposes and to develop a plan for distribution to these New Yorkers. The state is still receiving only 300,000 doses of vaccine per week. Several PSC members eligible because of age have successfully scheduled appointments, but it may take some time to find an appointment; start by signing up here.
- State of Residency: Your eligibility to receive a vaccination as part of Phase 1B depends on where you work, not where you live. The Governor’s Office confirmed last night that eligibility is not restricted by residence. Thus, if you are a faculty member required to teach on campus, you qualify to receive the vaccine regardless of whether you live out of state.
- Expanding Eligibility to All Faculty and Staff: As soon as the union can confirm that all professional staff required to work on campus are officially categorized as eligible for vaccination now, we will press to expand eligibility to all PSC members in anticipation of a general return to on-campus work next fall. The PSC leadership is working to ensure that all members who wish to be vaccinated have the opportunity to receive both doses of the vaccine before being required to work on campus.
- Priority for On-Campus Workers and At-Risk Groups: At the same time, however, we ask you to be mindful of the urgent need for in-person workers both at CUNY and throughout the state to have access to vaccination now. Phase 1B includes many of the occupations with high risk of exposure in which our students and their families often work: public transit, childcare, healthcare and grocery stores. Access to vaccination for these New Yorkers and our on-campus colleagues will keep everybody safer.
- Supporting Vaccination Hubs: Finally, the PSC has been updated by the CUNY administration and is awaiting further clarification about whether any CUNY campuses are being considered as vaccination hubs, whether PSC members will be invited to volunteer to help in vaccination sites, and what provisions will be in place for those who need to take time away from work to receive the vaccine or who wish to take time away to volunteer. I will let you know as soon as we hear more.
Thank you for your patience as the union receives answers to our questions and continues to use every avenue we can to advocate for our members.