Notice: Vaccination requirements in wake of Pfizer FDA approval

Dear students:

Please read the following important information regarding COVID vaccinations and testing from SUNY and Herkimer County Community College:

Student COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements:

Today the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The State University of New York (SUNY) policy dated August 21, 2021, states that from the date that at least one COVID-19 vaccination receives full FDA approval, SUNY campuses will establish a 35-day grace period within which all students must i) complete a vaccine series; or ii) provide evidence of having already completed a full vaccine series; or iii) submit a request for and receive approval for an exemption from the vaccination requirement on either a medical, or a religious basis. That 35-day grace period begins today and will extend through Monday, September 27th, 2021.  This grace period does not include the two-week window after completion of a vaccine series needed for immunity.

  • Students should note that for two-dose vaccine series (Pfizer, Moderna), there is a waiting period between the first and second doses, and both doses must be received within the 35-day grace period.  For the Pfizer vaccine, the waiting period between doses is 3 weeks (21 days), and for the Moderna vaccine, it is 4 weeks (28 days). Students should begin their vaccine series as soon as possible to allow for the waiting period for two-dose vaccines so they can complete their full series within the stipulated 35-day grace period.  The College is looking into having a vaccination clinic set up on campus for students to access at the start of the fall semester.  Further details regarding an on-campus vaccination clinic will be forthcoming as they are confirmed.  In the meantime, students are encouraged to check with their health care providers and/or local health departments on the availability of COVID vaccines and location of vaccination sites. Students may also check with local pharmacies, as many of them offer COVID vaccinations on a walk-in basis.

  • SUNY institutions will require students to provide evidence that they have completed a full vaccine series (meaning that the student has received at least one dose of a single vaccine series, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or at least a second dose of a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines). Herkimer County Community College students must submit their proof of completion of a vaccine series to the Dean of Students Office either via email to, or via fax to 315-866-1808.

  • Students may submit requests for an exemption from the vaccination requirement based on medical or religious grounds.  Herkimer students may obtain exemption request forms by contacting the Dean of Students Office at or by downloading them from the College’s HERK Safe Campus Plans webpage. Complete exemption request forms, including any supporting materials, must be received by the end of the day on Friday, September 3, 2021. Completed exemption requests should be submitted to the Dean of Students Office either via email to, or via fax to 315-866-1808. As long as the request for an exemption is received by the stipulated deadline, the grace period will extend through the review period of any such exemption.


Medical Exemption: The request for an exemption on medical grounds requires that Part II of the form (sections A, B, and C) be completed by a licensed medical provider (Physician, Physician’s Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner).

Religious Exemption: Students who hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs that are contrary to COVID-19 Vaccination may be exempt after submitting a written statement that explains (1) how receiving the COVID-19 Vaccination conflicts with the student’s sincere religious belief or practice, and (2) how not receiving the COVID-19 Vaccination will not otherwise prevent the student’s completion of the programmatic or curricular requirements of their academic program. General philosophical or moral objections to such a vaccine shall not suffice as the basis for a religious exemption.   

Upon expiration of the 35-day grace period, any student who has not shown that they have completed a full vaccine series or been granted an exemption will either be unenrolled, or may revert to fully online instruction if that is an available option based on the student’s course of study.  Otherwise, the student will no longer have access to any in-person campus activities or services.


Student COVID-19 Testing Requirements:

  • Residential Students: All Herkimer students residing on-campus will be required to have a “rapid” COVID test upon arrival on campus as part of their move-in process (as will any accompanying adults who will assist the student with moving in), and to participate in weekly surveillance testing on campus throughout the rest of the semester. All residential students will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, or if they have been approved for an exemption. The College’s surveillance testing site is in the Cogar Gallery in the College Center Building (RMCC 278), which will operate Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday each week from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  • Commuter Students: Commuter students should take part in “rapid” COVID testing that will be provided on campus by Primary Urgent Care on Wednesday, September 1, and Friday, September 3, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Commuter students who cannot make it to campus on either of those days for testing may also take part in on-campus “rapid” COVID testing on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Commuter students may also elect to be tested at local Primary Urgent Care sites during this week (see below for locations and hours). Results of the rapid test should be sent directly to   

Following the establishment of this baseline testing data during the week of August 30, commuter students who have provided proof of being vaccinated will not be required to participate in further weekly surveillance testing. Commuter students who have been approved for an exemption will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing.

  • Student-Athletes: All student-athletes, regardless of whether they are residential or commuter students, and regardless of whether they are vaccinated, or if they have been approved for an exemption, will be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing. Wednesdays each week will be designated testing days for student-athletes in the College’s surveillance testing site.


Primary Urgent Care – Herkimer:

130 West Albany St., Herkimer, NY


Hours: 7:30 am – 7:30 pm


Primary Urgent Care – South Utica:

1904 Genesee St, Utica, NY


Hours: 7:30 am – 7:30 pm


Cathleen McColgin
President, Herkimer County Community College