Public Health Protocols
Commencement Vaccination Policy
Graduates will be required to attest to compliance with the policy below when ordering their Commencement tickets.
All members of the NYU community, including NYU Commencement attendees, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and receive a COVID-19 booster shot (if eligible for the booster based on CDC criteria). You and your guests must be able to produce proof of compliance if requested.
[UPDATED] As of May 3, NYU strongly recommends that Commencement and Grad Alley guests wear a well-fitted mask at graduation-related events (unless otherwise required by the venue). Guests should plan to have their own masks available. Keep in mind that New York City, NYU, and venue mask policies are responsive to the most up-to-date COVID-19 public health conditions and are subject to change at any time.
Requirements for Individuals with a Valid Medical or Religious Exemption to COVID-19 Vaccination
You or your guests may claim an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements, for valid medical or religious reasons only. Those meeting criteria for an exemption from vaccination are required to take a PCR test within three days of Commencement (not before May 15, 2022), and must be able to produce proof of the negative PCR test results if requested. Individuals with a valid exemption from COVID-19 vaccination must meet the following criteria:
- Medical exemptions may be claimed only if a licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or licensed midwife (caring for a pregnant guest) explicitly instructed you not to receive the COVID-19 vaccination because such vaccination may be detrimental to your health or is otherwise medically contraindicated.
- Religious exemptions may be claimed only for genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs which are contrary to the practice of immunization.
- Those who are not fully vaccinated and boosted for reasons other than a valid medical or religious reason do not qualify for the COVID-19 vaccination exemption. Social, political, or economic philosophies, or personal preferences with respect to immunization do not justify an exemption.
NYU does not guarantee entry to venues with vaccination requirements, such as the venues that host school graduation ceremonies. Unvaccinated guests with valid exemptions will also need to follow venue-specific policies and procedures for those seeking accommodations to enter venues with vaccination requirements.
Can I show a recent negative COVID test instead of vaccination proof?
No, negative COVID tests will not be accepted as an alternative to vaccination proof, except for those with a valid medical or religious exemption to vaccination and children under 5 years of age.
When am I considered fully vaccinated?
You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you have received a second dose in a two-dose vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, WHO-listed vaccine) or two weeks after you have received a single-dose vaccine (i.e., Johnson & Johnson's Janssen). In addition to being fully vaccinated, NYU also requires that you receive your booster dose when eligible (based on CDC eligibility criteria).
How do I determine if I'm eligible for a booster shot?
- NYU requires proof of a COVID-19 booster shot for all those eligible to receive it. Those not yet eligible will be able to continue to enter provided they are two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.
- NYU will allow a one-week grace period to schedule and receive the booster upon becoming eligible, after which point, you are deemed non-compliant.
- Recipients of the Pfizer (age 12+) or Moderna (age 18+) vaccines become eligible for a booster five months after their second dose, and recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine become eligible two months after their single dose.
- Anyone (age 12+) who has received all the recommended doses of another WHO-EUL vaccine that is not approved or authorized by the FDA, or completed a mix and match series composed of any combination of FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO-EUL vaccines, becomes eligible for a booster five months after their last dose.
Learn more about who is eligible on the CDC website.
How can I get a booster shot when I arrive in New York?
COVID-19 vaccination, including booster shots, are widely available in the United States and are available at no charge. You can find and make an appointment using the US or NYC vaccine finder before you leave your home location for when you arrive in the United States. You will need to show your proof of primary series vaccination (in English) to get your booster shot.
What if my proof of vaccination is in a different language?
We recommend that you get your documentation translated into English because not all venues will accept documentation in languages other than English.
What if I am not vaccinated for reasons other than a valid medical or religious reason?
We encourage you to take advantage of the live streaming of the All-University Commencement, which will be available on the day of the ceremony on the Commencement website.
Do children also need to be vaccinated?
- Children 5 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated and receive their booster when eligible.
- Children under 5 years of age may attend Commencement and Grad Alley provided that they have either a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours of Grad Alley/Commencement or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within six hours of Grad Alley/Commencement. Please note: NYU does not guarantee entry for children under 5 years of age to venues with vaccination requirements, such as those hosting school graduation ceremonies.
What proof is required to claim a religious exemption?
Anyone claiming a religious exemption can verbally attest to this exemption. Paper documentation is not required. Religious exemptions are only permitted for genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs which are contrary to the practice of immunization. Those claiming religious exemptions must be able to show, if requested, proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to the event.
Does the vaccination policy apply to Grad Alley as well?
Yes, this vaccination policy also applies to Grad Alley on Tuesday, May 17.
COVID-19 Risk Exposure Disclaimer
All attendees who register and attend Commencement, Grad Alley, and other graduation-related events voluntarily understand, acknowledge, and assume the potential risks related to possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Graduates and their guests agree to abide by the relevant health and safety guidelines issued by New York University and the venue.
All plans may be subject to change pending any health guidelines issued by the federal, state, or city governments, the venues, or the university.
Updated: May 5