Check To See If Your College Is Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall 2020

Carolyn Twersky
·7 min read
Photo credit: Joe Raedle - Getty Images
Photo credit: Joe Raedle - Getty Images

As the vaccine rollout continues throughout the United States and the world, students everywhere are looking to the back-to-school season as a shining light at the end of the COVID tunnel. After over a year of Zoom classes, staying inside, and contact tracing, it's looking like the fall semester could provide some normalcy for students once again.In order to ensure that fate, schools across the country have started to announce a vaccine mandate, which requires their students be fully immunized before stepping back on campus in the fall.

Want to know more about this mandate and how it will affect you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about colleges requiring the COVID-19 vaccines.

Which colleges/universities are requiring students be vaccinated in the fall?

Here is the current list of schools requiring vaccinations for Fall 2021:

  • California

    • The University of California Schools

    • The California State University Schools

    • Claremont McKenna College in Claremont

    • Harvey Mudd College in Claremont

    • Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles

    • Menlo College in Atherton

    • Pitzer College in Claremont

    • Pomona College in Claremont

    • Samuel Merritt University in Oakland

    • Scripps College in Claremont

    • Stanford University in Stanford

    • The University of San Diego in San Diego

  • Colorado

    • Colorado College in Colorado Springs

    • Fort Lewis College in Durango

    • University of Denver in Denver

  • Connecticut

    • Wesleyan University in Middletown

    • Yale University in New Haven

  • Florida

    • Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale

  • Georgia

    • Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta

    • Emory University in Atlanta

    • Morehouse College in Atlanta

    • Spelman College in Atlanta

  • Illinois

    • Columbia College Chicago in Chicago

    • DePaul University in Chicago

    • Loyola University Chicago in Chicago

  • Indiana

    • Holy Cross College in Notre Dame

    • St Mary's University in Notre Dame

    • University of Notre Damn in South Bend

  • Iowa

    • Grinnell College in Grinnell

  • Maine

    • Bowdoin College in Brunswick

    • College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor

  • Maryland

    • The University of Maryland Schools

    • Bowie State University in Bowie

    • Coppin State University in Baltimore

    • Frostburg University in Frostburg

    • Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

    • Morgan State University in Baltimore

    • Salisbury University in Salisbury

    • Towson University in Towson

    • University of Baltimore in Baltimore

  • Massachusetts

    • Massachusetts State University Schools

    • Amherst College in Amherst

    • Assumption University in Worcester

    • Boston College in Boston

    • Boston University in Boston

    • Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater

    • College of the Holy Cross in Worcester

    • Emerson College in Boston

    • Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg

    • Framingham State University in Framingham

    • Hampshire College in Amherst

    • Lasell University in Newton

    • Northeastern University in Boston

    • Salem State University in Salem

    • Simmons University in Boston

    • Smith College in Northampton

    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Amherst

    • Westfield State University in Westfield

    • Worcester State University in Worcester

  • Michigan

    • Lawrence Technological University in Southfield

    • Oakland University in Rochester

  • Minnesota

    • Macalester College in Saint Paul

  • New Hampshire

    • Dartmouth College in Hanover

    • Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester

  • New Jersey

    • Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck

    • Montclair State University in Montclair

    • Princeton University in Princeton

    • Rutgers University in New Brunswick

    • Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken

  • New York

    • Barnard College in New York City

    • Columbia University in New York City

    • Cornell University in Ithaca

    • Fordham University in the Bronx

    • Hamilton College in Clinton

    • Ithaca College in Ithaca

    • Le Moyne College in Syracuse

    • Manhattanville College in Harrison

    • New York University in New York City

    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy

    • Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville

    • St. John's University in Queens

    • Syracuse University in Syracuse

    • The New School in New York City

    • The University of Rochester in Rochester

    • Vassar College in Poughkeepsie

  • North Carolina

    • Duke University in Durham

    • Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem

  • Ohio

    • Cleveland State University in Cleveland

    • Kenyon College in Gambier

  • Oregon

    • Lewis & Clark University in Portland

    • Willamette University in Salem

  • Pennsylvania

    • Drexel University in Philadelphia

    • Lehigh University in Bethlehem

    • University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

  • Rhode Island

    • Brown University in Providence

    • Roger Williams University in Bristol

  • Tennessee

    • Maryville College in Maryville

  • Texas

    • Paul Quinn College in Dallas

    • St. Edward's University in Austin

  • Vermont

    • Bennington College in Bennington

  • Virginia

    • Hampton University in Hampton

  • Washington

    • Seattle University in Seattle

    • Whitman College in Walla Walla

  • Washington, D.C.

    • American University

    • Georgetown University

    • Georgetown Washington University

    • Trinity Washington University

Here is the current list of schools requiring vaccinations only for students who want to live on campus in Fall 2021:

  • Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio

  • Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Can colleges/universities require the vaccine?

The short answer is yes, colleges can require students receive the vaccine before attending school. In fact, you may not have even noticed, but colleges and universities have been requiring vaccines for years. Almost all schools in the country already require you get the MMR 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.

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."

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.

Photo credit: Benjamin Brashear
Photo credit: Benjamin Brashear

What 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."

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.

According to a survey conducted by Arts-Bridge, 62% of high schools students and parents are concerned they won't have the "ideal college experience" because of the effects of the pandemic. Plus, 64% of high school juniors and seniors feel the price of college isn't worth it when you're learning from behind a screen instead of in a classroom.

The hope is that a vaccinated campus will help to solve these problems, to allow for that "ideal college experience" and for students to be back in the classroom in Fall 2021.

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