Quinnipiac will be among the many universities across the country to require all students, staff and faculty to be fully vaccinated for the fall 2021 semester.
An email sent by President Judy Olian and Provost Debra Liebowitz explained that the decision was formed “because scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines to protect those who are vaccinated, and to help prevent further spread of the virus.”
To participate in on-ground classes and in-person events, all students, staff and faculty must be fully vaccinated and upload their vaccination record on Student Health Services by Sunday, Aug. 1.
Senior medical advisor for the COVID-19 task force, Dr. David Hill, explains that the decision-making process took some time. Hill believes that the reasons to be fully vaccinated like “protecting your health and to protect those around you” played an immense role.
“There was a lot of debate and a lot of thought looking at legal issues, health issues, immunity issues, personal rights, mutual freedom versus the public good issues. We settled down on the side of requiring the vaccination,” Hill said.
Students who don’t receive the vaccine before the date are still allowed to reside on campus for their education. Hill explains the unvaccinated students “should be protected by the community who is largely vaccinated.”
The requirement gives some students more hope that campus life and activities will go back to how it felt before the pandemic.
“I was stoked because I already am fully vaccinated so hopefully that will let us go into each other’s rooms again, be more lax about letting people come onto campus and be able to go off campus more often like we were before this whole thing started,” said Patrick Rainey, a third-year psychology major.
The email lists the indicators for a “normal” semester:
Student programming will be greatly expanded, from athletics and recreational activities to guest speakers, performances and more opportunities for clubs and organizations.
Our classrooms will return to normal capacity.
We will eliminate weekly COVID-19 testing for all vaccinated students. The level of testing for any vaccine-exempted student will be determined by our medical experts.
COVID-19 testing will be available for symptomatic individuals through Student Health Services.
Khushi Dagli, a second-year international student, feels relieved knowing the majority of people on campus will be fully vaccinated.
“There were a lot of people who didn’t want to be vaccinated when I spoke with them so I think mandating it was the way to go,” Dagli said.
A second-year student’s parent, Anna Marino, was shocked, along with other parents, that the university decided to make the call. The parents not in support of the vaccine requirement do not feel the university has the right to mandate a vaccine not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“People are entitled to feel how they feel and we all have to agree to disagree,” Marino said.
Hill said the university looked into the issue of requiring vaccines that fall under “emergency use approval”.
“Typically requiring those vaccines is not done because they haven’t been fully approved by the FDA, but given to the unique nature of their approval and the usage of these vaccines by millions and millions and millions of people, and testing these waters in a legal realm, I think the law falls on the side of allowing them to be required,” Hill said.
Students have the ability to exercise medical and religious exemptions, which goes for other vaccines required by the university. A form will be sent within the next week outlining the exemption guidelines. Once submitted, Student Health Services will review the form and be in contact with the student.
“While I do understand the option of having a choice, this is an entire community that is being affected by that choice,” Dagli said.
International students who are not able to receive a vaccine in their home countries can request a temporary exemption until they can be vaccinated in the U.S. All vaccines approved by the World Health Organization will be accepted by the university.
Additional questions and concerns about the vaccination can be found on the university’s COVID-19 vaccine information page.
In the email, Olian recognizes everyone’s comfort levels with the vaccine as the university transitions into the fall semester saying, “We ask that everyone be respectful and supportive of others’ choices within the bounds of campus requirements.”