After more than a year of online classes, regular coronavirus testing and mask warrants, most colleges across the country are bracing for what passes for a normal return to campus in the fall.
The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines makes this possible, but colleges will likely remain wary. But nearly half of American adults are completely inoculated, only around 30% of 18-24 year olds have reached that benchmark, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
College students pose a high risk to pandemic control efforts. Last September, counties with universities suffered number of worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. But colleges are determined to find ways to retake full classes in person. Students and faculty have struggled with online learning, and universities have lost revenue related to in-person costs such as dorms, meal plans, and even athletics.
For example, some colleges will require students to provide proof that they have received COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s what you need to know about these requirements – and their exceptions.
How many colleges will need a COVID-19 vaccine?
So far about About 400 colleges plan to require that students who wish to learn in person receive the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer injections, according to a list compiled by the Column of Higher Education.
Public and private universities have issued coronavirus vaccination warrants for students, although state colleges in Republican-controlled states have been more likely to avoid such requirements. The American College Health Association, a professional group of academic health care providers, recommended colleges require the vaccine for in-person classes when “state law and available resources permit.”
Almost all countries 4000 diplomas colleges, however, encourage or help their students get vaccinated against COVID-19. The University of Florida has not issued a vaccination warrant, but has hosted a mass vaccination clinic which aimed to vaccinate thousands of students every day. And some colleges even offer incentives such as cash, college gifts, or tuition-free courses, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Wait, haven’t some states banned vaccination warrants? Does this also apply to universities?
In some cases, yes, but the scope of these restrictions varies from state to state. In Arizona, public universities are prohibited from requiring COVID-19 injections, although private institutions are not. The Texas order prohibits any institution receiving public funds from issuing a vaccination warrant, which would include some private universities. But even state-level restrictions can be more confusing than helpful.
the Indiana state recently passed a law banning the use of “vaccine passports”. Indiana University defended the law does not apply to university. The state attorney general disagreed. So far, the university is sticking to its vaccine requirements, although conservative lawmakers keep calling on her to abandon the warrant.
As a reminder: the federal government does not impose vaccines against COVID-19.
Are some universities not already requiring vaccines?
Correct. Most universities require students to be vaccinated against measles, meningitis, and other illnesses. Part of the controversy this time stems from the Food and Drug Administration’s agreement on COVID-19 vaccines via an emergency authorization order.
Some have argued that this temporary authorization should prevent universities from requiring the injections. But the coronavirus tests themselves have also been approved via an emergency clearance order, and these have been used frequently on campuses nationwide.
Legal concerns aside, universities in need of vaccines are likely to experience a backlash from anti-vaccine groups. Rutgers University of New Jersey was the first major institution to deploy a mandate, and it is is the subject of protests and challenges.
So what happens when the FDA fully approves one of the vaccines?
Expect to see more universities demanding the first approved vaccine. the University of California and California State University systems have already said they would need vaccines against the coronavirus, but only when a vaccine is fully approved. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a similar directive to New York public universities. The systems in California and New York are among the largest in the country, and other universities are likely to follow their example.
I cannot be vaccinated because of my health or my religion. Will my child or I still be required to be vaccinated to attend classes?
Usually no, but expect to follow additional rules while on campus. Unvaccinated students can be expected to wear masks, unlike vaccinated students. Those who forgo inoculations may also have to continue to be tested for the coronavirus.
In some cases, students without vaccines may be excluded from campus. For example, Brown University requires students who refuse vaccines and do not qualify for a medical or religious exemption to pursue their studies at a distance.
What do I hear about free tuition for students who are vaccinated?
Thanks to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for that. In an effort to increase vaccination rates, Ohio has created a lottery for people who receive COVID-19 injections. Adults can win $ 1 million, but young 12 to 17 year olds could win a full scholarship to a state public college.
Cuomo created a similar lottery in New York for 50 people aged 12 to 17. The earnings will cover tuition and other fees at any College of the City University of New York or State University of New York systems. (The incentive, however, assumes that young people want to attend a state college, or that they will be accepted into the college of their choice, or that they want to go to college at all.) Similar incentives were adopted in Colorado, Delaware and Oregon.
Do teachers and staff need to be vaccinated?
Mandates vary by campus, but many vaccine requirements have focused on students. It is believed that students are less likely to search the photos on their own. Students also tend to be more sociable or live in crowded spaces, which means they have a greater potential for the virus to spread.
In addition, it is easier for universities to impose photos on their students than on their employees. And while some companies have started to roll out vaccination mandates, universities are generally not included.
So what should I do if I want to attend (or avoid) a university with vaccination mandates?
Find out more directly and often from the university. At the end of March, less than a dozen universities had immunization mandates in place. Now hundreds have adopted these types of rules.
The university should also be able to answer more specific questions about the type of vaccine they will need. Some, for example, accept vaccines approved in other countries, while others only accept vaccines authorized by the FDA.