A wave of universities considers instituting the requirement before fall.
New Jersey university Rutgers has inspired a wave of universities with their announcement that "all students must be vaccinated for the coronavirus before arriving for classes in the fall," according to WTOP News. Since President Biden's announcement this month that every American could get a vaccine by May, Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, told MarketWatch "officials decided they could require it."
Rutgers' announcement, made on March 26, explained they believe the vaccine to be key "to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic." According to Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs, "The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death."
Exemptions may be requested for medical or religious reasons, and the requirement will only apply to students coming on campus.
But now that the first major university has made the leap, what does this mean for other universities? According to a spokesperson for the University of Maryland in College Park, they may follow suit. Hafsa Siddiqi, a University of Maryland media relations manager, told WTOP News in an email they have "made a request of the University System of Maryland and the Maryland Office of Attorney General to allow for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination within our community, and we await guidance for what is allowable in our state."
University of Maryland spokesperson Mike Lurie brings up one of the primary concerns, outside of medical or religious necessity. "The USM," he told WTOP News in an email, "Is currently reviewing its authority to mandate whether students should be vaccinated against COVID-19."
Local universities American University and George Washington University told WTOP, "they are still coming up with a plan for the upcoming year."
Would you like to see universities require the vaccine? Let us know in the comments.