More schools are announcing a vaccine requirement for students returning to campus for the 2021-22 academic year, signaling a return to normalcy.
The University announced that vaccines would be required in the fall in a letter from President Christina Paxson P’19 April 6 and it was among the first private universities to do so. Since then, hundreds of schools across the country have announced similar requirements for students.
Paxson later announced that all employees and all students on campus for the summer semester must receive the final dose of their vaccine by July 1, The Herald previously reported.
All of the Ivy Plus universities will require vaccinations for students in the fall, but they differ in their policies regarding faculty and staff.
Dartmouth announced its fall vaccination requirement April 14, soon after New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu made all adults eligible for the vaccine. But unlike the University, Dartmouth students on campus during the summer quarter will not have to receive their vaccines. As such, Provost Joseph Helble told the Dartmouth community that they will need to have “protocols in place until the vaccine is required and until we have enough vaccination across the community.”
Stanford University, another university with a sizable undergraduate population on campus this summer, will not require vaccinations in the summer quarter, citing the fact that “vaccinations have only recently become available” in an announcement to the community. Stanford Health Care will work to provide vaccinations for those in Santa Clara County who want one during the summer, according to the announcement. Neither Dartmouth nor Stanford plan on lifting restrictions until there is a vaccine requirement and enough students have received it.
Other of Brown’s peer institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Penn, University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University, will all require vaccinations for returning students in the fall. Many of these institutions are holding vaccine clinics on campus. For example, Yale Health announced April 19 that they had procured enough of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to vaccinate all students on campus. The University held its first clinic for vaccinating the campus community May 17, The Herald previously reported.
These universities, like Brown, will allow for medical and religious exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
Each of these institutions will offer a vaccination clinic on campus, either in an affiliated hospital or in a more makeshift setting, such as a gym. Duke says it has “offered every current Duke student and employee the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.” Students who did not receive a vaccine from Duke “are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.”
Dartmouth, UChicago and Cornell will operate vaccine sites at their medical centers, while Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale and Duke will operate clinics at other sites around their campuses. Penn’s vaccine program ended as students left campus, but it plans on making vaccines available again in the fall.
The majority of the schools have encouraged international students to get whichever vaccine is most easily accessible to them, as long as it is on the World Health Organization’s list of vaccines approved for emergency use, rather than waiting to receive a dose in the United States.
Though vaccination requirements for students are similar across peer institutions, they differ in their policies on requiring the vaccine for faculty and staff. Columbia will require all university personnel, including students, faculty and staff, to submit proof of vaccination by August 2. Stanford will also require faculty and staff to get vaccinated.
Harvard has not required faculty and staff vaccinations but expects that its faculty will make “every effort” to get vaccinated while further guidance is under review. Princeton, Cornell, Penn, Dartmouth, UChicago, MIT and Duke have adopted a similar approach; although there is no official vaccine requirement, these schools are strongly encouraging faculty to get vaccinated. In an announcement, Yale cited discussion with the faculty union as another step they must take before requiring vaccinations, per the terms of their contract.
Dartmouth Provost Joseph Helble told the Dartmouth community that the vaccine requirement for students was more pressing since students will be living together in close proximity, which is “one of the most critical areas for controlling the spread of the infection.”
Universities hope to relax restrictions as they reach near-universal vaccination. Brown announced Thursday that it would lift a number of restrictions, including outdoor mask-wearing for vaccinated individuals and the essential-travel only mandate, as public health conditions continue to improve, The Herald previously reported.
Stanford has not removed their mask mandate for the fall but said that students will no longer need to quarantine after traveling from out of state. Cornell, like Brown, will lower testing frequency to only once per week for fully vaccinated students. Harvard hopes the requirement will allow for a “less restricted, more robust on-campus experience for all students this fall.”