2 more private Minnesota colleges will require COVID-19 vaccinations

Two St. Paul private colleges have joined the list of Minnesota higher education institutions that will require their students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning this fall.

Hamline University announced its decision Thursday and St. Catherine University declared its mandate late last month. With their announcements, seven Minnesota private colleges — including Macalester College, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law — will require their students to get the shots.

"Getting vaccinated allows Hamline University to be at its best," Hamline President Fayneese Miller said in a statement. "It allows our students to enjoy all that one expects as a university student. It allows for greater flexibility in campus life, including better and more frequent access to events."

Hamline students and employees must complete a vaccination series by Aug. 15, though "recognized exemptions or extensions will be allowed." The school will hold free vaccination clinics on campus July 19, Aug. 9 and Aug. 31.

St. Catherine University has set a vaccination deadline of Aug. 16 for its students and employees, who must provide a copy of their immunization record to the school. The college will allow exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Though hundreds of colleges nationwide have announced vaccination requirements, most Minnesota institutions have made it optional.

The University of Minnesota will not require COVID-19 vaccination for its students or employees despite criticism from faculty members that a mandate would better shield its five campuses from the infectious disease.

The Minnesota State system's 30 community colleges and seven universities are only encouraging vaccination, as are most other private colleges in the state.

Minnesota's largest private college, the University of St. Thomas, is using incentives such as gift cards, tuition discounts and professional development money to encourage students and employees to get vaccinated.

Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234

Twitter: @ryanfaircloth