Can universities ask for it within the fall? What about exceptions?
After more than a year of online classes, regular coronavirus testing, and masking mandates, most colleges in the country are preparing for a normal return to campus in the fall.
The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines makes this possible, but colleges are likely to remain cautious. Although nearly half of American adults are fully vaccinated, only about 30% of 18- to 24-year-olds have reached this benchmark, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
College students are at high risk for fighting the pandemic. Last September, university districts suffered many of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. However, colleges are determined to find ways to resume full, face-to-face courses. Students and professors struggled with online learning, and universities lost revenue from personal expenses such as dorms, meal plans, and even athletics.
As a result, some colleges require students to provide evidence that they have received COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s what you need to know about these requirements – and exceptions to them.
How many colleges need a COVID-19 vaccine?
So far, around 400 colleges plan to have students who want to study in person receive recordings from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer, according to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Both public and private universities have issued coronavirus vaccine mandates for students, though state colleges in Republican-controlled states tend to avoid such requirements. The American College Health Association, a trade group of college health care providers, recommended colleges require the vaccine for face-to-face courses where “state law and resources allow”.
Almost all of the nation’s 4,000 degrees However, colleges encourage or help their students get their COVID-19 recordings. The University of Florida did not issue a vaccine mandate, but it did set up a massive vaccination clinic that aimed to vaccinate thousands of students every day. And some colleges even offer incentives like cash, college money, or tuition-free courses, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Wait, haven’t some states banned vaccine mandates? Does that also apply to universities?
In some cases, yes, but the extent of these restrictions varies from state to state. In Arizona, public universities are prohibited from requesting COVID-19 recordings, but private institutions are not. The Texas ordinance prohibits any institution receiving public funding from granting a vaccination mandate, which would include some private universities. But even government-level restrictions can be confusing rather than helpful.
The state of Indiana recently passed law banning the use of “vaccination cards”. Indiana University argued that the law does not apply to the university. The attorney general disagreed. So far, the university has stuck to its vaccine needs, even if the conservative legislature continues to urge it to drop the mandate.
As a reminder: The federal government does not prescribe COVID-19 shots.
Don’t some universities already prescribe vaccines?
Correct. Most universities require that students be vaccinated against measles, meningitis, and other diseases. Part of the controversy this time comes from the Food and Drug Administration’s OK for the COVID-19 vaccines over an emergency clearing ordinance.
Some have argued that this temporary permit should prevent universities from requesting the admissions. However, coronavirus tests themselves have also been approved through an Emergency Authorization Ordinance, and these have been widely used at locations across the country.
Legal concerns aside, universities that need the shots are likely to be pushed back by anti-vaccine groups. Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first major institution to introduce a mandate, and it has been the subject of protests and challenges.
So what if the FDA fully approves one of the vaccines?
Expect more universities to need the vaccine approved first. The University of California and California State University systems have already announced that they would require coronavirus shots, but only if a vaccine is fully approved. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a similar policy to public universities in New York. The systems in California and New York are among the largest in the country, and other universities are likely to follow suit.
I cannot be vaccinated because of my health or my religion. Do I or my child still have to get the vaccine to attend class?
Generally no, but expect additional rules when on campus. Unvaccinated students can be expected to wear masks, but vaccinated students may not. Those who do not receive any vaccinations may still need to have coronavirus screening tests.
In some cases, students without vaccines can be expelled from campus. For example, Brown University requires students who decline admissions and do not qualify for a medical or religious exception to continue studying remotely.
What do I hear about free classes for vaccinated students?
Many thanks to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for this. To increase vaccination rates, Ohio launched a lottery for people who received COVID-19 shots. Adults can win $ 1 million, but young people ages 12-17 could get a full-time scholarship to a public college in the state.
Cuomo has launched a similar lottery in New York for 50 people between the ages of 12 and 17. Profits cover tuition and other costs at each City University of New York or State University of New York college. (However, the incentive assumes that the young people want to go to a state college, or that they want to be admitted to the college of their choice, or that they want to go to college at all.) Similar incentives have been introduced in Colorado, Delaware, and Oregon.
Do faculty and staff need to be vaccinated?
Mandates vary from location to location, but many vaccine requirements have focused on students. It is assumed that students are less likely to search for the recordings themselves. Students also tend to be more social or live in crowded rooms, which means they have a higher potential for the virus to spread.
In addition, it is easier for universities to record for their students than for their staff. And while some companies have started adopting vaccine mandates, universities in general weren’t among them.
So what should I do if I want to attend (or avoid) a university with a vaccine mandate?
Contact the university directly and frequently. At the end of March, fewer than a dozen universities had vaccine mandates. Now hundreds have adopted these types of rules.
The university should also be able to answer more specific questions about the type of vaccine needed. For example, some will accept vaccines that are approved in other countries, while others will only accept vaccines approved by the FDA.