Several Universities Will Require Students to Provide Proof of Vaccination
As college students return for the fall semester, many universities have required students to get vaccinated due to the ongoing pandemic. Currently, the United States reports 32,713,675 COVID-19 cases and 581,056 deaths.
However, as the nation has distributed more and more vaccines, 112,626,771 Americans have been fully vaccinated. On April 19, 2021, President Biden announced that Americans 16 and older are eligible for vaccines. Thus, several universities across the nation such as Rutgers, Princeton, DePaul, and Columbia, have required students to provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the National Public Radio, Rutgers is believed to be the first large university in the United States to implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. The school has also urged faculty and staff members to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help make it “a full return to our pre-pandemic normal” for the upcoming school year. Rutgers administration said in a statement, “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community.” However, some students may be exempted from the vaccine requirement due to “medical or religious reasons.” Though, to help mitigate the spread of the virus, Rutgers University health clinics have received the approval from NJ officials to administer vaccine shots on campus.
Princeton University has also required students to provide proof that they have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Although, similar to Rutgers, Princeton will allow “medical and religious exemptions from the vaccination requirement… in accordance with the university’s reasonable accommodation policies and legal requirements.” It remains unclear if professors and faculty members will be required to get the vaccine. The school announced that it “has not yet decided whether to require faculty, staff and others working or otherwise present on campus during the 2021-2022 school year to provide proof of having received an authorized vaccine. However, the university highly recommends vaccinations for all employees and other members of the campus community.”
Fairleigh Dickinson University, the largest private university in New Jersey, has announced that it is requiring the 12,000 students on the Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck, Hackensack and the Florham Campus in Madison to be fully vaccinated. Several other universities in the state, such as Rowan and Stockton, have strongly encouraged, but not required students to provide proof of vaccination. Yet, similar to Princeton and Rutgers, Brown, Cornell, Northeastern and the University of Notre Dame have also required students to be vaccinated.
Other colleges, including Virginia Tech, have debated requiring students to get vaccinated, as the Food and Drug Administration has only approved emergency use of the vaccines. In addition, there have been many concerns about whether or not requiring faculty members and other employees to get vaccinated will lead to legal challenges. Nonetheless, several universities across the country will continue to require proof of vaccination to reduce the spread of the virus.