Colleges nationwide mandate COVID vaccine for returning students

Universities across the United States — including Cornell, Northeastern, and Rutgers — are announcing plans to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students while permitting medical and religious exemptions.

Some schools are not mandating the vaccine, but are instead “strongly recommending” them.

Universities are announcing that they will require the COVID-19 vaccine for returning students.

“More than 90 million U.S. residents have safely received one or more doses of a currently approved COVID-19 vaccine,” explained Cornell University President Martha Pollack in a statement, “and recent data indicate that these vaccines not only protect those inoculated from serious infection, but also are protective for asymptomatic infection and the risk of transmission of virus to others.”

Therefore, Cornell “intends to require vaccination for students” returning to one of its campuses in the fall.

[RELATED: Cornell offers ‘person of color’ exemption for flu vaccine requirement]

“Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but the expectation will be that our campuses and classrooms will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all,” continued Pollack.

The school also unveiled a “COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination” tool — a form that all students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete beginning on April 15.

Brown University will likewise mandate “COVID-19 vaccines for all undergraduate, graduate and medical students who will engage in in-person instruction.” Exemptions “will be granted to students, and reasonable accommodations will be provided as determined by applicable law.”

The university is working to determine whether vaccination should be a requirement for Brown employees as well.

In contrast, a spokesperson for Columbia University — another Ivy League school — told Campus Reform it is “strongly recommending, but not mandating” vaccination for eligible persons.

[RELATED: Cornell renames English Department as part of ‘decolonization efforts.’ Check out the new name.]

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, pointing out that the vaccine will be available to all Americans by the end of May, said that “adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students.”

Northeastern University also announced that all students “will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes.” Students are permitted to “request religious and medical exemptions to the policy.”

In the fall of 2020, universities across the United States began implementing flu vaccine requirements as part of efforts to fight COVID-19.

[RELATED: Universities mandate flu shots as part of COVID fighting efforts]

Campus Reform reached out to Cornell University, Rutgers University, and Northeastern University, but did not receive a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft