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Colleges Beginning to Require COVID Shots for Students

Will college student vaccination requirements be the next American vaccine victory?

Shawna Newman

April 09, 2021

The list of colleges and universities that are requiring students have their COVID vaccines is growing. We’re uncovering the schools embracing this new mandate and what next steps parents and students should consider.
Colleges Beginning to Require COVID Shots for Students
President Joe Biden recently applauded the current vaccination progress and proclaimed the acceleration of the COVID-19 Vaccine; stating that in less than two weeks, all U.S. adults are expected to have had at least the first dose of their COVID inculcation. A recent article from The Guardian, adds that the American effort to defeat the Coronavirus has now reached “...almost a third of the total population of the U.S. However, The Guardian also reports that COVID cases in young adults are beginning to rise. Noting the state of Michigan in which the total number of cases “...is rising by more than 5,600 [cases] a day, the highest rate since December.” Prior to Biden’s latest vaccine victory praise, several well-known colleges and universities announced they will require incoming, in-person students to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of their fall semesters. The first university to have announced this requirement was Rutgers University in New Jersey.

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Yahoo! Life mentions that religion and medical reasons are qualification for exemption of this Rutgers policy and that full-remote learning students do not have to meet this vaccine requirement. Staff and faculty at Rutgers are strongly encouraged to have had their vaccines, too. As one of the largest public university systems in the United States, many higher education leaders predicted other colleges and universities would follow suit. A recent Fastweb Instagram poll reflected that more than a quarter of high school seniors and current college students report their college is requiring a COVID vaccination before fall arrivals.
instagram covid shot poll
Independent reports that seven colleges so far have announced similar vaccination requirements for students looking to attend colleges in person this fall. Many university leaders referencing their effort to keep public health and safety a priority in the typical population-dense college environment. These higher education institutions include:

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  • Brown University: Providence, Rode Island
  • Northeastern University: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Cornell University: Ithaca, New York
  • Rutgers University: New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Fort Lewis College: Durango, Colorado
  • Nova Southeastern University: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • St. Edward’s University: Austin, Texas
  • According to a KVUE, this mandate has now loosened due to a Texas state executive order by Governor Abbot. Citing the private institution still receives some form of public funding.

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    Supporting Student Vaccination Mandates

    The vaccine requirement has now entered an entirely new legal stage. As most private institutions can mandate such requirements, there is still a bit of a grey area, especially for colleges and universities that are funded partially by the state government. This is the similar situation St. Edward’s University is navigating right now. Higher Ed Dive adds, vaccination requirements are not a new concept as colleges already require students to receive and prove they’ve had certain vaccinations. These types of vaccines include measles or rubella according to, Market Watch. Because of the pandemic many college students and parents pushed back at the idea of paying full tuition when they didn’t receive the traditional, on-campus college life experience. USA Today reports, “A fully vaccinated campus could be the step toward normality that college leaders are seeking.” Many college presidents and university leaders are leaning on the April 19, vaccine availability assurance from President Biden and the federal government to press forward with shot requirements. However, as more college leaders are requiring vaccinations, there is pressure to ensure students have the resources to obtain their required Covid-19 vaccine. To accommodate these concerns universities are taking a ground-zero inculcation approach. According to USA Today, the University of Florida is “hosting large-scale vaccination sites” to drive vaccine accessibility and fuel a fully vaccinated campus community. “That institution [the University of Florida] is hoping to vaccinate 20,000 people every week for three weeks.”

    Next Steps for Students

    As Decision Day is just around the corner, high school seniors should visit the websites of their top-college choices to see if vaccination requirements have been added. Many colleges also post important information like this via their social accounts. Current college students should check their student email accounts for information regarding student requirements and the COVID vaccination. If you have medical concerns and your college has issued a mandate, reach out to your college’s health care and/or the student services departments. Many universities are offering vaccine exceptions for students with specific religious beliefs too. Educate yourself on the latest vaccine information, side effects and fact sheets from reliable sources such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students and parents should expect more updates from their college as the fall semester approaches. Is your college requiring a COVID vaccination before the fall semester? Share with us, by commenting on this article below.

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