Dear Members of the Fordham Community,
With relief and gratitude for all of those who helped us get through the pandemic, we announce our ability to move beyond many of the University’s COVID protocols. We continue to encourage you to make individual choices to maximize your own safety, and we continue to offer enormous respect and care for the more vulnerable among us. But the same data that has driven Fordham’s decisions all along now counsels a different path. The federal government has announced the termination of the emergency phase of the crisis as of May, thus we can move forward into the endemic stage of the virus. We make this decision after broad consultation with our community.
As of May 15, Fordham will not require members of the University community or visitors to be vaccinated against COVID. Vaccinations and boosters will continue to be strongly recommended because they remain very effective in protecting each of us individually from serious illness and death. Vaccines will no longer be required, however, because new variants increasingly have evaded the vaccine’s initially strong ability to prevent transmission of the disease. What was once a critical way to protect the most vulnerable in our community has become more of an individual choice about safety, one we urge you to take seriously.
While many of us have learned to live with the risk of COVID, it is critical that we remember the most vulnerable—to care enormously about those who beat cancer (or face other risks) and now live in fear of being felled by a virus. To state the obvious, stay home if you test positive for COVID. But not just that—we all learned some good habits about staying home when we are sick with any infectious illness. And masks remain a critical way to keep from spreading our own germs when we are sick, and a tool for those who want or need to protect themselves.
The University will continue providing COVID vaccinations and testing to students as much as we can. Schedules will be posted on the Health Services Page. Employees should see their healthcare providers.
As of May 15, the University will no longer use VitalCheck to track vaccination status, nor to report COVID cases, and members of the on-campus community will no longer receive the daily VitalCheck questionnaire via text or email.
Long before the fall semester begins, we will take a look at all other policies in consultation with the data and our community, and will announce any changes with plenty of notice. Until then, all classroom and other policies remain in effect. If you have questions about any of this, you can email vpforadministration@fordham.
I arrived after the worst of the pandemic, but I want to say how proud I am of what you collectively achieved these last grueling years. In the midst of the terrible toll the virus took on New York City, Fordham’s data shows how well it managed to provide protection on campus and to model its concern for the neighborhoods around us, and for the communities you each returned home to. After the initial lockdown, the University carefully balanced the need to teach and serve students in person against the risks.
Fordham spent millions on these efforts—for vaccines, testing, masks, infrastructure modifications, and health and safety personnel. Fordham’s faculty, administrators, and staff worked tirelessly to teach and serve students. From the ridiculous juggling act of teaching in hybrid fashion to caring for students in the residence halls, from maximizing safety in our ventilation systems to giving thousands of COVID tests—I can’t possibly list here everything you sacrificed, but it was a miracle.
Students, we are so proud and grateful for the ways you helped us through, the millions of individual choices you made to keep our community safe. You lost so much, from critical years of social engagement to precious moments like graduations, and for some of you, far worse. We look at the data on levels of anxiety and depression with enormous concern. And despite how exhausted we also are, the Fordham community comes to work every day determined to be there for you.
We will continue to be prepared for whatever the world may throw at us, while praying for a reprieve from these ridiculously difficult times. Thank you all so much.
All my best,