Monroe County

Rochester-Area Colleges Discuss Approach on Vaccination Requirements for Fall Semester

Colleges in Monroe County discuss their approach to the fall semester after Cornell University announced it will require students to be vaccinated in order to return to campus in September.
Kristen Brown, the interim vice president for student and organizational development at Roberts Wesleyan College, says while they encourage students, faculty, and staff to get the vaccine, they believe it’s too early to make a decision on whether they will be required for the fall semester.
“We want people to take their time to make the decision that’s right for them,” Brown said. “So we don’t feel like we are going to mandate it at this time. But we are going to keep that conversation going, especially with our local and state to try to understand with what we should do as a college to be good citizens in our community.”
Other universities in Monroe County, such as of the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher, and Nazareth also shared similar sentiments:
University of Rochester
“I think our decision on this is still a ways off. Yesterday we did message our students that we are strongly encouraging them to get vaccinated, and that the UR Medical Center is helping to make this happen.”
Rochester Institute of Technology
“While RIT strongly encourages all to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, the university is not requiring immunization at this time. The issue is under discussion with the administration in conjunction with NYS and local health officials.”
St. John Fisher College
“The College is encouraging members of our campus community to get vaccinated and we are currently examining the issue of vaccine mandates on college campuses. As we continue to plan for fall 2021, the College will stay abreast of regulations and policies provided by New York state and the federal government, as well as best practices offered by the CDC and other authorities.”
Nazareth College
“We are looking at all means to create the safest and healthiest environment we can for learning and for our students. Nazareth has not yet made a decision about mandating the COVID vaccine for students returning in the fall. We are paying close attention to state and local health department guidance as well as the national conversation around the issue.”
Even though schools in the SUNY system haven’t decided whether or not students will be required to be vaccinated for the fall semester to be on campus, they did announce a plan to gets students living on their campuses the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before they go on summer break.
As for Roberts Wesleyan, the college is hoping it will be able to reopen most of campus for the fall semester.
“We will be eagerly anticipating updates to occupancy guidelines and those types of things,” Brown explained. “Having students in our residency halls. All of that we feel really confident about for the fall and this year we have been pretty successful keeping cases on our campus very low so we do think we have good precedent to believe that next fall will be a great fall on campus.”

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