COVID-19 Read: FAQs about Clarkson’s Vaccine Requirement

University Community,

Clarkson University announced its vaccination requirement with limited exceptions on May 11, 2021 and has compiled the responses to frequently asked questions (see below and next link).  We will  provide updates to Frequently Asked Questions and other information at based on questions that come in from our community.  
As we go into this summer, we also anticipate significant and frequent updates /changes to New York State and Federal guidelines and regulations that the institution has considered and followed throughout the pandemic that will inform our plans.  

Vaccination is key to ending the global pandemic, and we hope that everyone takes this opportunity to protect themselves, as well as our community.   

If you have any questions about this communication, please contact (employees), (students) and/or me.

Kelly Chezum ‘04
VP for External Relations
Restart/Rebuild Communications Lead 

Vaccine FAQs

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

The CDC considers an individual to be fully vaccinated: 

  • 2 weeks after receiving their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination required for Clarkson students?

Yes, with limited exceptions.  Clarkson intends to require vaccination for students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — to be fully vaccinated as a condition of having access to its Potsdam, Beacon, Schenectady campuses (all buildings inclusive of residential, non-residential and academic) effective June 21, 2021 for those who work with K-12 students as part of their student jobs and August 1, 2021 for all others.  We anticipate that this requirement will extend to the Adirondack Semester and study abroad experiences that may continue.

New York State has fully expanded vaccine eligibility and other states are following this same trend, as well as increasing vaccine production. It is clear that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer. 

Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but the expectation is that we will be a University community of largely vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all. This will also allow students to fully access classes and minimize NYS quarantine protocols based on exposure.  

Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for Clarkson employees?

Yes, at this time, Clarkson is requiring our employees to be vaccinated with limited exceptions for medical and religious reasons. The University provides four hours of paid leave for those going to get vaccinated. 

Why is COVID-19 vaccination being required?

Throughout the pandemic, the safety of our community has been our highest priority.  With the advice, counsel and recommendations of the CDC, New York State Department of Health, St. Lawrence County Public Health, St. Lawrence Health System and the St Lawrence County Board of Health, we have accessed and relied upon the most up-to-date scientific information available to make informed decisions about our operations.

Clarkson’s decision is aligned with the recent announcement by Gov. Cuomo that SUNY and CUNY campuses will require vaccination for the fall semester and is consistent with the recommendations of the American College Health Association, which made a statement last month recognizing that comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective way for institutions of higher education to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience for students in fall semester 2021. The vaccination requirement for all members of our campus community is to protect the health and safety of our community—and the greater communities where we have operations —to the fullest extent possible, and to enable our students to engage in-person and more fully in all aspects of university life than they have since the beginning of the pandemic. 

It is not uncommon for universities to mandate that students be vaccinated against dangerous diseases that can transmit easily throughout the student population on a residential campus. As is the case with all vaccination requirements, there will be an option for students to request religious and medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

What if I can’t get access to a vaccination approved in the USA? 

Individuals who are not able to obtain vaccination prior to being on campus June 21, 2021 for summer programs/K-12 engagement or after by August 1, or whose vaccination is not recognized by New York State, will be expected to be vaccinated as soon after their arrival as possible. The Student Health Center can help accommodate those students with a plan, or 315-268-6633.  

What other vaccinations are required?

Students attending post-secondary institutions in New York State, who were born on or after January 1, 1957 and are registered for 6 or more credit hours, must demonstrate proof of immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. Medical and religious exemptions to immunization may be granted.

Post-secondary institutions in New York State are required to distribute, on a form provided or approved by the NYS Commissioner of Health, written information about meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal immunization to each student who is enrolled for at least 6 semester hours. Each such student must certify that they have already received immunization against meningococcal meningitis or that they have received and reviewed the information provided by the institution, understand the risks of meningococcal meningitis and the benefits of immunization, and have decided not to obtain the meningococcal vaccine.

Where are some credible sources of information on vaccines available and their safety, efficacy and health benefits?

Clarkson’s faculty experts and regional health experts group point to information posted on the  CDC website on all three approved vaccinations in the USA and outlines the composition of the vaccines and how they work; with links to more detailed information, including their safety. 

The University Library created more than a year ago a COVID-19 Resource Guide which also includes a repository of information on COVID-19 vaccination with links to research.

How do I request a medical or religious exemption?

Students: Students may apply for a religious or medical exemption through the “COVID-19 Vaccine Proof” panel in myCU by visiting: With the assistance of medical advice and/or legal counsel as needed, a determination of the reasonableness and appropriateness of the requested accommodation will be made.

Employees:  Employees may apply for a religious or medical exemption through the request for an accommodation process and submitting it to Human Resources. Please visit: Request For Accommodation Form for COVID-19 vaccination.  Further questions can go to With the assistance of medical advice and/or legal counsel as needed, a determination of the reasonableness and appropriateness of the requested accommodation will be made.    More information will follow.  

In both cases, because we anticipate more frequent changes to guidance and regulations from government and public health officials in the near future, we may need to make adjustments to our processes and have some delays in responding while written information from these entities becomes publicly available. 

How can you upload Proof of Vaccination Information:

  • Students to MyCU:  Students can upload a picture of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card on myCU after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or after a single-dose vaccine. Upload a picture of the front of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (with all information visible) here:
  • Employees to Peoplesoft-HR:  Employees are asked to upload a picture of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card in PeopleSoft HR after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or after a single-dose vaccine. Upload a picture of the front of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (with all information visible) here:

How will vaccination data be used?

Your proof of vaccination information will be used to prevent and respond to the presence of COVID-19 on campus and to comply with federal, local and public health guidelines. The information will be maintained in accordance with all applicable laws and public health regulations.

Where can I get vaccinated?

In New York State, sign up here.   If you are a Clarkson student or employee, you are eligible regardless of your state of residence:   Here is more information about New York State’s vaccine  program:  Federal Health and Human Services also has a Website to find providers near you across the United States: 

Will I have to pay to be vaccinated?

No, not if you receive your vaccination in the United States. The US federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccination free of charge, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.  

Are the vaccines under emergency use authorization?

Vaccine makers have applied for full authorization.  In a public health emergency, manufacturing and approval of vaccines can be streamlined through an Emergency Use Authorization or EUA. An EUA does not affect vaccine safety, because it does not impact development, such as research, clinical studies and the studying of side effects and adverse reactions. Instead, it speeds up manufacturing and administrative processes.  All vaccines follow the same testing process, whether they are approved for emergency use or through a typical license.  To learn more about EUA, please visit: or

Will there be a full-remote/virtual option for students who are enrolled in the fall but aren’t vaccinated?

A fully-remote virtual option will only be available for those enrolled in our degree-granting online programs. In addition,we will be exploring how to meet the academic needs of students unable to come to campus because of visa issues or travel restrictions. 

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to show proof of vaccination for in-person learning and work attendance?


If I have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, can I still receive the vaccine?

Yes, as long as you have been released from isolation, are no longer symptomatic and have been medically cleared by a doctor after having COVID-19, you are able to get vaccinated. You do not have to wait until 90 days after your diagnosis. As long as you are not actively sick, you are able to get the vaccine.  If you have any questions, students contact, 315-268-6633, and employees should contact Human Resources,

Will persons who do not get vaccinated based on religious or medical exemptions face descrimination? 

Clarkson University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, marital status, parental status, ancestry, source of income, or other classes protected by law in provision of educational opportunity or employment opportunities.   

In response to the pandemic, we will be considering and following local public health, New York State and Federal guidelines and regulations that apply to the higher education sector and related research and business operations: 

Below is an example of recent mask guidance from the CDC for those fully vaccinated, excerpted from:

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings  and venues
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after  travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by  the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible, depending on the setting

Fully-vaccinated people should continue to: 

  • Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people  who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an  unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe  COVID-19 disease
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people  from multiple households
  • Avoid indoor large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and  recommendations

The CDC has created this graphic for choosing safer activities to wear or not wear a mask. 

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