Misericordia, King's and Wilkes not mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for students

Michael P. Buffer, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·2 min read

Mar. 30—Misericordia University, King's College and Wilkes University are not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students coming back to campus in the fall.

But they are encouraging vaccinations. Rutgers University in New Jersey was one of the first universities in the nation to put in place a vaccination mandate for its students when it made the announcement last week.

"At Wilkes, we continue to strongly encourage vaccinations among those who are currently eligible," university spokeswoman Gabrielle D'Amico said Monday in an email. "At this time, we are not requiring that all students and employees be vaccinated. We will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and consult with health and medical professionals as we move toward a time when vaccines are more readily available for all members of our campus community."

Misericordia spokeswoman Amy Bachman released a university statement Monday.

"At this time, Misericordia University strongly encourages everyone to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination; however, we understand some may have a medical reason not to do so," the university said. "Based on all the available evidence and in accordance with global, national, and local health guidance, vaccination is a critical step in helping to end the pandemic."

The university noted some students, faculty and staff have already been vaccinated after becoming eligible or if they work or study at a clinical site where vaccinations are required.

"We ask that all of our students and colleagues on the Dallas and Pittsburgh campuses get vaccinated against COVID-19 as a critical next step toward protecting the health of our campus community," the university said.

King's will "continue to utilize testing protocols, a mask mandate, and social distancing" to prevent the spread of COVID-19, spokesman Robert Reese said. King's also has applied with the state Department of Health with a goal to become a vaccination distribution site for its community and made arrangements with the Wright Center in Jermyn to provide vaccinations to eligible employees, Reese said.

"While employees are not currently mandated to receive immunizations, employees have been offered opportunities to be vaccinated on a limited scale and many have taken advantage of the opportunity," Reese said.

According to King's website, 66 students and five employees are quarantined or isolated off campus, and one employee and 17 students are quarantined or isolated on campus. The university reported 17 positive cases over seven days and 67 this semester. Test positivity this semester at King's is 1.4%.

Wilkes reported eight active cases of COVID-19 with 55 cleared this semester. Wilkes reported 17 students are in quarantine or isolation with 221 cleared from quarantine or isolations. The university also reported 276 students and employees are vaccinated.

Since Misericordia's spring semester began Jan. 25, no employees, 11 Dallas campus students and 21 Dallas commuter students have tested positive, according to the Misericordia website.

Contact the writer: mbuffer@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2073, @cvmikebuffer