What You Need to Know About Colleges Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccine For the Fall 2021 Semester

What You Need to Know About Colleges Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccine For the Fall 2021 Semester

4/20/2021 3:02:00 AM

What You Need to Know About Colleges Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccine For the Fall 2021 Semester

Here's what you need to know about colleges requiring their students receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, as well as a vaccine to protect against bacterial meningitis.Just like with any of those vaccines, there are exemptions for medical and non-medical reasons, and those exemptions will also apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Why are colleges/universities requiring their students be vaccinated?Since Fall 2020, schools have been working to create a safe environment for their students. They've been holding classes outside and over Zoom, requiring face masks be worn around campus, and have adjusted dorm living to allow for social distancing. Now, vaccinating students is an extension of those safety procedures.

"Our decisions around adding one of the [Emergency Use Authorization]-approved COVID vaccines to our existing list of required vaccines really was a continuation of our efforts this year to be in-person," said Tom Stritikus, President of Fort Lewis College."We did everything we could do to be in-person this year and a broadly vaccinated student body in really the next step in that." headtopics.com

For many, the hope is that requiring vaccines will allow for campus to take a step forward in returning"back to normal." While students will still have to wear face masks and abide by the basic safety rules, a vaccinated student body will allow for more in-person classes, student activities, and large gatherings like commencement.

Benjamin BrashearWhat if I don't want to/can't get vaccinated?As mentioned above, there are both medical and non-medical exemptions for students who cannot or do not want to get vaccinated. Justin Sloan, the VP of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at St. Edward's University said it is very rare for a student to not meet the exemption process if that is their decision, whether it be for medical, religious, or personal reasons.

Every school will have different protocol for the exempt students, but for the most part, they will still be able to attend classes and live on campus normally. However, Justin warns that, at least in the case of St. Edward's, while a non-vaccinated students will be allowed on campus, there may be some external programs they cannot participate in, like study abroad.

"We're not telling the student they can't learn with us," he said."We're not telling them they can't live on campus, but we are being transparent that there are some activities that are provided by third parties that may not be available to them." headtopics.com

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What will this mean for the fall semester?The hope is that this will allow for a fall semester that looks a little bit more like Fall 2019 and less like Fall 2020. Again, safety precautions will still be in place, but the vaccine will allow for students to return to their campus with less fear and more excitement about classes, activities, and all of the things that make college...well, college.

"For us, it will mean we'll have at least 80% of our classes face to face, it means that we will be back to the exciting and wonderful things that make campus life so wonderful and that includes, not just lectures and labs, but performances and athletics," said Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, President of Oakland University.

Read more: Seventeen »

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