More Colleges Are Requiring Students To Get Vaccinated Before Coming Back

SharonLChapmannn /

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be distributed, some U.S. colleges are planning for a more traditional 2021-2022 academic year. The number of American colleges and universities requiring students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campuses continues to grow. 

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Brown University president Christina Paxson stated in an April 6 letter that students will be welcomed back to campus in the fall to live in the residence halls and to attend in-person classes — given that they are fully vaccinated.

“We have every reason to expect that fall 2021 at Brown will look and feel much more like fall 2019 than fall 2020,” Paxson wrote. 

More information will be provided to Brown students over the summer regarding the process for verifying vaccination documentation. The Ivy League school is still deciding whether vaccination should be mandatory for Brown employees.

Northeastern University also announced that all students must be immunized before returning for the fall semester unless they have a medical or religious exemption. “In order to get herd immunity, we need to get a maximum number of people possible vaccinated,” said Ken Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning at Northeastern. 

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The Boston school stated it will require proof of inoculation and the method of proof will be announced “in the coming days.”

Rutgers University, Fort Lewis College, Cornell University, Nova Southeastern University, Roger Williams University and St. Edward’s University have also joined the list of schools requiring students to be fully vaccinated before returning this fall. 

Meanwhile, other schools are using alternative methods to encourage students to get immunized. Dickinson State University students who show proof of inoculation will be exempt from the campus-wide mask mandate. 

Although schools are required by law to provide accommodations and exemptions for medical reasons or religious beliefs, they are within their legal rights to require students to be fully vaccinated.    

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Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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