Some colleges and universities will require COVID vaccinations for students, employees

Published: May. 25, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are requiring the COVID vaccine for students, faculty, and staff for the fall semester.

Getting back to normal is what a lot of area college students are hopeful for.

“I hope people get the vaccine and we can put this behind us,” Chaz Tyra, a Bellarmine University student said.

“I got the vaccine already, I feel like I should be alright,” Majeed, a University of Louisville student said.

UofL is strongly encouraging students, faculty, and staff to get the COVID vaccine, but as of now, it’s not mandatory in order to return to campus for the fall semester.

“We will strongly encourage people to mask if they are not vaccinated and strongly encourage for them to get the vaccine,” UofL Provost Lori Gonzalez said. “But, you know we will have a population of people who can never get the vaccine because of an underlying health issue.”

It’s the same at the University of Kentucky. Students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine for the fall semester but are not mandating it. UK says many Wildcats have been proactive about the vaccine.

“About 80% of our faculty have been vaccinated or in process of being vaccinated,” said Jay Blanton, a UK spokesperson. “About 70% of staff and more than 61% of our students before the end of the semester which was May 14th, those numbers compare favorably across the country.”

As of now, Sullivan University, Western Kentucky University, Spalding University, Kentucky State University, and Bellarmine University are all also strongly recommending people get the vaccine, but not mandating it. Bellarmine says they are still reviewing their plans. Others in Kentucky, like Berea College and Simmons College, are requiring everyone to get the COVID vaccine for the fall semester.

Joining them on the other side of the river, is Indiana University. Come next semester, students, faculty, and staff on all IU campuses are required to come back fully vaccinated.

“Obviously there will be people who have exemptions and may not be able to get the vaccine, there is a very limited number of exemptions that we are working on,” Dr. Lana Dbeibo from Indiana University said.

But not everyone feels it’s the university’s place to demand vaccinations.

“I think it’s being forced on us, even if we don’t want it,” IUPUI student Justin Underwood said. “I think it should be everybody’s personal choice.”

Checking on two other big Indiana schools: The University of Notre Dame is also requiring all students returning to campus for the fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID. Purdue University says it is strongly encouraging all Boilermakers to get the vaccine.

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