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Phase III+: The University is open for expanded research operations; only authorized personnel will be admitted on campus. More info here.

This message was sent to the Rockefeller community from the Office of the Executive Vice President on May 28, 2021 at 12:18 p.m.
Subject: For fully vaccinated RU personnel, masks are now optional anywhere on campus (indoors and outdoors)

Dear Rockefeller colleagues,

On behalf of the University’s Research Restart Committee (RRC), I am writing with updates to the current Phase III+ policies. We want to again thank the campus community for your extraordinary diligence in complying with Phase III+ restrictions and are pleased to announce that we are continuing to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

For unvaccinated people, there are no changes to the current policies. Social distancing and face masks are required at all times while on campus (indoors and outdoors).

There are changes to the policies for fully vaccinated individuals, defined as those who are at least two weeks beyond the final dose of vaccine (after the second Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and after the first Johnson&Johnson vaccine). These changes are driven by the facts that: (1) vaccines are extremely safe, easily accessible and extraordinarily effective in preventing infection and serious cases of COVID-19; (2) the risks of transmission are much lower among vaccinated individuals than those who are unvaccinated; and (3) over 84% of the campus community members are currently fully vaccinated and 91% have received at least their first shot.

Effective immediately for fully vaccinated RU/HHMI employees and students:

  • Masks are optional anywhere on campus, indoors and outdoors. We expect and respect that some fully vaccinated members of our community will elect to continue to wear masks and stress that not wearing masks is optional, not mandated, for fully vaccinated people.

Effective at a later date/to be determined:

  • Other institutions have announced mandatory vaccination for all faculty, staff and students upon formal FDA approval of any of the vaccines, which could be as soon as later this summer for the Pfizer vaccine. Everyone should get vaccinated while we have Pfizer vaccine readily available on campus at the Kellen BioLink (see details below).
  • Access to certain amenities on campus, including the Founder’s gym, indoor dining and others, will be restricted to fully vaccinated individuals (we expect the first phase of the opening of the gym to be in the middle of June).

Taking all of this into account, I urge anyone who has not yet done so to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We are continuing our partnership with HSS to provide on-campus vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine. Our current agreement includes access to full vaccination (both shots) for anyone who receives their first shot before the end of June. Please see the weekly emails from Ann Campbell and OHS indicating the hours and availability of walk-in access to the free vaccine at the Rockefeller BioLink on 68th St. First doses are available here next week on Tuesday, June 1 from 9:30-11:00am and 2:00-5:00pm with no appointment needed. Getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself, your colleagues and your loved ones from COVID-19. Please send questions about vaccinations to

Finally, other changes to the Phase III+ policies are that the capacity limits for elevators and bathrooms have been eliminated effective immediately.

If you have any questions about the information above, please send an email to

Reminders about additional Phase III+ policies that were announced on May 14 are below my signature.

Please continue to use good judgment and common sense at all times. All my best to everyone for the long weekend.

Take care,


Timothy P. O’Connor, PhD
Executive Vice President
The Rockefeller University

Effective May 14 for fully vaccinated people:

  • Social distancing is no longer required (including indoors).
  • Groups of fully vaccinated people are permitted to have in-person meetings without masks while in meeting rooms. If unvaccinated members of your group need to participate in these meetings, you must set up a Zoom portal so that they can join these meetings virtually. Recommended capacities have been posted for most shared conference rooms. If you have questions about the appropriate number of meeting attendees for a given room, please email for guidance.
  • Individual visitors to campus will be permitted for business purposes only and must provide information about their vaccination status. Visitors are not permitted on campus for social or recreational purposes at this time. Permission for visitors to access campus still needs to be obtained following submission of the request to
  • Visitors are not permitted to access recreational or social activities, food services or to join others at the Faculty Club.