Two state university systems are joining the growing list of higher education institutions that will mandate students receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they wish to return to campus in the fall 2021 term -- pending formal approval of at least one vaccine.
Approximately 30 colleges and universities have declared they will require students to receive the jab if they plan to spend any time on campus, either to live in dorms or use university facilities.
The California State University and University of California announced Thursday that all schools within their respective state systems will also require the jab for all students and on-campus faculty in the fall. And the University System of Maryland announced a similar measure on Friday.
"This mandate was not undertaken lightly," Maryland System Chancellor Jay A. Perman said in a statement.
"We want students to have these bonding opportunities," Perman said. "We want them to have a college experience that breeds a sense of belonging. And if that’s our goal -- to have students (a lot of students) safely back on campus this fall, then we have to do everything we can to protect that safety."
Any such mandate will provide exemptions on either religious or medical grounds.
The addition of the California and Maryland school systems affects millions of students heading into the fall term this year. The mandate for California is not final, however: At least one vaccine must receive formal approval, the LA Times reported.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have received emergency-use authorization from the FDA, but neither has yet received full approval.
"Together, the CSU and UC enroll and employ more than 1 million students and employees across 33 major university campuses, so this is the most comprehensive and consequential university plan for COVID-19 vaccines in the country," Cal State Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said.
Half of the Ivy League universities will mandate vaccines for on-campus students in the fall: Yale, Columbia, Cornell and Brown will require vaccines, while Harvard, Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth will only "strongly encourage" students to receive the vaccine.
The State University of New York system will also only encourage students to receive the vaccine, citing the general willingness among students to receive the vaccine.
"We didn't have a problem signing up students for the vaccine, the J&J — we ran out of slots," SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras told Capital Tonight. "It's getting enough of the vaccine for our students."
More than 30 colleges, meanwhile, have announced plans for a vaccine mandate, according to CNBC.
Other universities that have decided to mandate vaccines include Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, Emory University, Bowdoin College, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Vassar College, Manhattanville College, Ithaca College, Syracuse University, the University of Notre Dame, Rutgers University and DePaul University, among others.