“That’s what we’re preparing for,” he said, “more infectious, more harmful variants that we think could be circulating on our campuses come fall.”
Some schools plan to require student-athletes to get shots, along with anyone living in campus housing, but most schools are still allowing medical, religious and other exemptions to the vaccination requirement.
And at least two dozen colleges, including California’s public university systems, will not require shots until after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants full approval for the vaccines.
This week, the American College Health Association, a trade group representing college health professionals, emphasized that many students and employees remain at high risk for severe illness and complications from COVID-19, and that virus spread on college campuses has been shown to impact surrounding communities.
The group recommended postsecondary institutions require vaccinations for all on-campus students for the upcoming fall semester, if state laws allowed them to, the Times reported.
The widespread vaccine mandates are already facing challenges from many of those they are designed to protect.
A student at Manhattanville College in New York has started a petition to reverse a policy requiring proof of vaccinations before returning to campus.
At Stanford University, the College Republicans, a student group, condemned the administration’s plans to require vaccinations for the fall.
Numerous colleges are planning to offer academic incentives to encourage the vaccine rather than require shots.
Baylor University in Texas and Calvin University in Michigan have announced that students who have been inoculated can skip mandatory testing.
The University of Wyoming is offering vaccinated students and staff members a chance to participate in a weekly drawing for prizes such as tickets to football or basketball games and Apple products. Employees who are fully vaccinated are eligible for a personal day off, the Times reported.
More than 660,000 virus cases have been connected to U.S. colleges since the pandemic began more than a year ago. One-third of those cases have been reported since Jan. 1, the Times reported.
Despite more students becoming eligible for vaccines, several major outbreaks have forced a handful of universities to suspend classes, student activities and campus events in recent months.