At least five U.S. colleges and universities have announced plans to require students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall.
Students attending Cornell University, Rutgers University, Fort Lewis College, Nova Southeastern University, and St. Edward’s University will need to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, with limited exceptions for underlying medical conditions and religious beliefs.
“A widely vaccinated student body provides our best hope of returning to the hands-on, inclusive, experiential, and personalized learning environment that we have all come to love,” Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus’ letter to the university community.
“As such, all students who enroll in FLC for the fall semester 2021 will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Stritikus added.
In a letter to the Cornell community, President Martha E. Pollack wrote that the university “intends to require vaccination of students returning to the Ithaca, Geneva and Cornell Tech campuses during the fall semester.”
Pollack wrote that the decision was made after “recent announcements of expanded vaccine eligibility in New York and other states, and increased vaccine production,” so it is “likely” that community members will be able to receive a vaccine. in the spring or summer. .
Pollack added that people who cannot be inoculated before their arrival for the fall semester, or whose vaccination is not recognized by New York State, “will be expected to get vaccinated as soon as possible after they arrive, and Cornell is investigating ways to facilitate this process. “
Rutgers University leaders wrote a letter to their community last month, writing: “The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and move towards a full return. to our normal pre-pandemic as a dynamic institution in the fall of 2021. “
Nova Southeastern University issued a statement Friday announcing its intention to resume “full classroom and in-person learning for face-to-face courses” in the fall semester, and its requirement for students, faculty, and staff to return to campuses. are fully vaccinated.
On March 29, the COVID-19 leadership team at St. Edward’s University announced that the university will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees and students on campus 16 years of age and older, effective September 1. .
The announcements from various universities come when data shows that college students are a major spreader of the virus. According to The New York Times, more than 120,000 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to American colleges and universities since January 1, and more than 530,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.
However, some colleges are not yet imposing vaccine requirements, instead trying to incentivize students to get vaccinated. Dickinson State University, for example, said students who show proof of a complete vaccination series may be exempt from the current campus-wide mask mandate.