As of July 23, 2021, 600 U.S. universities will require at least some staff, faculty, and students to have a COVID-vaccine to return to campus Fall 2021, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
As of July 15, 2021, the University of California (UC) is the largest public university system to require all students and staff to have a COVID vaccine, with an appeal for an exemption, if warranted. (Of note, exemptions are available at many universities requiring vaccines.)
However, how colleges will enforce the vaccine policy varies. The UC claims that students will be limited to online course registration only and barred from on-campus events as well as residence, but not all classes will be offered online.
Yet, at other universities, like Bryant University in Rhode Island, while non-vaccinated students will not be barred from campus, they will be required to wear masks and maintain three-feet distance from others. Additionally, non-vaccinated students may be assigned to housing separate from vaccinated students.
Frustrated, students choosing not to be vaccinated or seeking an exception for health or religious reasons, believe they’re being sentenced to wear a “Scarlett A” and live in segregated housing, creating divisions amongst campus communities.
Furthermore, one third year student, three semesters away from graduation, shares that they’re considering transferring colleges, as they believe they’re unfairly being forced to reveal their health care choices, risking social ostracization, while paying tens of thousands of dollars for tuition.
At the time when the bonds of college communities and goodwill have been stretched thin, amidst COVID fatigue, reconvening students and faculty on campuses in Fall 2021 is proving complex. Yet, how college administrators will balance the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty to fulfill their educational mission, plus restore their community remains to be seen.
For more information about how to navigate the complex 2021-22 school year for college or K-12 students, contact Creative Marbles Consultancy‘s experts