Spring 2023 COVID-19 Guidance

A COVID-19 cell with text that reads COVID-19 Information and Updates

Effective May 22, 2023, students of SUNY Old Westbury will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The College will, however, continue to require reporting of vaccination status as required by SUNY policy. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY Old Westbury has built upon what it has s learned to create a safe environment for all in our campus community – in the classroom , in our residence halls, and across campus – so that we can continue to offer the inclusive and welcoming spirit that defines the SUNY Old Westbury experience.

Mandatory Vaccination for Students

In compliance with the SUNY vaccination mandate, SUNY Old Westbury requires all students who attend in-person classes or utilize any on-campus services to be fully vaccinated. Students are to send a copy of their vaccination card to the Student Health Center via studenthealth@oldwestbury.edu.

Students should not register for on-campus classes if they are unwilling to be vaccinated.

All students are strongly encouraged to stay up to date on their vaccinations as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including obtaining any booster authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC for their age group. While not required at this time, SUNY reserves the authority to impose a requirement for any booster at any time as a result of changes in local conditions or as a result of requirements imposed by federal, state or local authorities.

Those students who have vaccine information on record with the Student Health Center do not need to resubmit but are encouraged to provided updated copies of their information as they update their vaccinations through boosters, etc.

Note: The COVID-19 pandemic situation remains fluid. Therefore, policies and practices relating to COVID-19 are subject to change at any time, depending on the public health conditions of our immediate area and external guidance. If any element of our guidance changes (i.e., masking, boosters, surveillance testing, etc.), it will be clearly communicated.


Students may apply for a waiver from the vaccination requirement based on the following allowable exemptions.

  • MEDICAL EXEMPTION (PDF). A student may request exemption from the vaccine requirement with a certification from a licensed healthcare provider. SUNY Old Westbury will provide reasonable accommodations to those students whose medical condition(s) makes the COVID-19 vaccination inadvisable so long as the failure to be vaccinated does not prevent the student from otherwise fulfilling the programmatic or curricular requirements of their academic program. Deadline to have a Spring 2023 medical exemption request considered: January 12, 2023
  • RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION (PDF). A student may request exemption from the vaccine requirement if they hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs that run contrary to the practice of COVID-19 immunization. Students must submit a completed religious exemption form and a written statement that explains how receiving the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with their religious beliefs or practices. The statement must also explain how not receiving the vaccination will not prevent them from completing the programmatic or curricular requirements of their academic programs. General philosophical or moral objections to the COVID-19 vaccine will not suffice as a basis for a religious exemption. Students who were approved by SUNY Old Westbury for a religious exemption previously do not need to re-apply for Spring 2023. Deadline to have a Spring 2023 religious exemption request considered: January 12, 2023
  • REMOTE/NET EXEMPTION (PDF). Students whose entire class schedule is comprised of NET and Remote courses may apply for a Spring 2023 Remote Exemption. This option is only available to commuter students. Registration in any course taught in-person, as a hybrid or as a blended course nullifies eligibility for this exemption. Any student applying for and receiving this exemption will agree not to have a physical presence at any SUNY Old Westbury owned facilities, including for the purpose of classes or accessing on-campus services, for the duration of the 2023 spring semester.  Deadline to have a Spring 2023 remote/NET exemption request considered: January 12, 2023

Students taking non-credit classes may also apply for one of these waivers from the vaccination requirement and must meet the same requirements as those for credit classes.

Requests received after the deadlines here will only be considered if those requests come from a student newly admitted to the College for Spring 2023. 


SUNY Old Westbury is operating in a mask optional status for all students, staff, faculty and visitors, except as follows:

  • in an instructional setting when required by the instructor
  • in a campus office setting when required by the occupant
  • in a healthcare setting (i.e., Student Health Center, Office of Counseling and Psychological Wellness)
  • if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, wear a mask, get tested immediately and self-quarantine while you await results.
  • if you test positive and must be isolated (i.e., you will also be required to mask for five days after ending isolation, days 6-10).

Students participating in clinicals or other off-campus placements must continue to comply with specific regulations or requirements in place at that site.

COVID Testing

COVID-19 testing is not required for any population on campus for the Spring 2023 semester.

Anyone who has had contact with a positive COVID-19 case or is experiencing any symptoms should perform a COVID-19 test or, for students, visit the Student Health Center to be tested.

Any faculty, staff or student who receives a positive COVID-19 test result either from a home rapid test or an off-campus lab must immediately isolate and report their test results immediately.

Faculty who are told by a student that that student has tested positive for COVID-19 are to advise the student to get in touch with the Student Health Center as soon as possible.

NOTE: SUNY Old Westbury may at a later date impose more frequent testing of students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, if conditions warrant additional measures.

Isolation for Those Found Positive

  • In the event of a positive test result, a minimum of a 5-day isolation period is required. 

  • Upon a positive test, commuter students and faculty/staff would be expected to isolate in their homes. 

  • If campus residents test positive for COVID-19, they should return home to their permanent address to isolate as soon as possible and notify their Residence Hall Director/ the Office of Residential Life. If campus residents are unable to travel home, they will be required to isolate in place where they live on campus. 

Students Isolating in Place on Campus 

  • Students who recently tested positive should only leave their room to use the bathroom, pick up food, dispose of trash, or for an emergency such as a fire alarm or medical emergency at which time they must remain masked and maintain 6ft distance from those around them. Students are not allowed to attend in-person classes while isolating.  

  • Grab and go food options are available on campus. For additional information, please visit Campus Dining to check pickup locations and hours. Students are required to bring food to their room and eat only inside their room. Students may not eat or sit during a meal in any place on campus other than their assigned room. Please be masked and mindful of maintaining a 6ft distance when picking up meals. Face coverings may be removed in your room while you are actively eating or drinking.  

  • Limit time in shared bathrooms and wash your hands after each use. When disposing of trash, wear your mask and maintain a 6ft distance from those around you. Do not spend time in the hallways, lounges, kitchen, communal living room, or laundry room. Please refrain from doing laundry during your isolation period to limit exposure to others. Do not share personal household items like cups, towels, and utensils.   

  • In a fire alarm or emergency, please wear a face mask and maintain a 6ft distance from those around you. 

  • Once 5 days of isolation have been completed, and you are feeling better, you can exit isolation but must continue to always wear a mask for 5 additional days. If on day 5, you are not feeling better, please contact the Student Health Center at studenthealth@oldwestbury.edu or call (516)876-3250. 

Roommates/Suitemates of a Student with a Positive COVID Case Isolating in Place

We understand you may have questions about living in a shared space with someone who recently tested positive. It is important to remember that roommates and suitemates often remain living in shared spaces with other illnesses, such as the flu, mono, a cold, and stomach virus. Old Westbury is well-positioned for an isolation-in-place protocol because of the high campus vaccination rates, increase population-level immunity, and widely available antiviral medications.  

Due to your roommates' recent Covid-19 test result, there are some precautions to take to ensure your health and safety. Please always wear your mask while in the same room as your roommate. Do not share personal household items like cups, towels, and utensils. Due to isolation protocols your roommate is only permitted to leave the room to use the bathroom, pick up food, dispose of trash, or for an emergency such as a fire alarm or medical emergency. Your roommate is only allowed to eat in their room, so please be sure to wear your mask while they are eating.  

Residential Students

All students living on campus must be fully vaccinated or comply with the exemption requirements outlined in this guidance. Students must have completed the vaccination process before moving into a residence hall.


All student-athletes must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption before the start of practices for the season. SUNY Old Westbury will comply with all NCAA, SUNY and Skyline Conference regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, etc.

Campus Compliance

Enforcement of the COVID guidance will be handled through the Office of the Dean of Students for students and the Office of Human Resources for employees.

In those instances where a member of the campus witnesses a violation the College’s announced COVID-19 practices – whether in class, in a public space, or otherwise on campus -- that they believe must be reported, please follow the procedures below:

  • Instances involving student conduct: Complete the “COVID Policy Non-Compliance Reporting Form” available in the ConnectOW portal 
  • Instances involving employee conduct: Contact the Office of Human Resources via extension 3179 or email to HR@oldwestbury.edu