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:
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 College in Colorado Springs
Fort Lewis College in Durango
University of Denver in Denver
Wesleyan University in Middletown
Yale University in New Haven
Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale
Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta
Emory University in Atlanta
Morehouse College in Atlanta
Spelman College in Atlanta
Columbia College Chicago in Chicago
DePaul University in Chicago
Loyola University Chicago in Chicago
Holy Cross College in Notre Dame
St Mary's University in Notre Dame
University of Notre Damn in South Bend
Grinnell College in Grinnell
Bowdoin College in Brunswick
College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor
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
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
Lawrence Technological University in Southfield
Oakland University in Rochester
Macalester College in Saint Paul
Dartmouth College in Hanover
Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester
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
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
Duke University in Durham
Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem
Cleveland State University in Cleveland
Kenyon College in Gambier
Lewis & Clark University in Portland
Willamette University in Salem
Drexel University in Philadelphia
Lehigh University in Bethlehem
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
Brown University in Providence
Roger Williams University in Bristol
Maryville College in Maryville
Paul Quinn College in Dallas
St. Edward's University in Austin
Bennington College in Bennington
Hampton University in Hampton
Seattle University in Seattle
Whitman College in Walla Walla
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.
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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