Vaccines Required for College Students to Return to Campus

Higher education institutions may require vaccines for all college students hoping to return to campus in person this fall.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.

With more than 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered worldwide and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promoting loosened mask restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated, America is hurtling towards returning to some sense of normalcy. These recent changes have left many college students hopeful that they may be able to return to campus this fall.

Colleges Opening Back Up

It is no secret that colleges and universities were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world, students have shifted towards online learning as institutions’ physical locations are slow to open back up. In America, first-year student counts decreased by a shocking 16.7 percent in the Fall 2020 semester alone. Without income from student housing, athletics, and other social events – paired with falling student body numbers – higher ed is struggling to stay afloat. In hopes of opening back up for a more “normal” Fall 2021 semester, many schools are requiring COVID vaccines for all students looking to return to campus.

College Requiring Vaccines

As of early May, hundreds of colleges and universities had announced that COVID-19 vaccination would be mandatory for all students returning to campus. In order to enroll for in-person learning or to live in campus housing, students will need to provide proof of receiving the vaccine. This is similar to how they must prove that they have received other vaccines, including that for Meningitis, before arriving on campus. Schools across the nation are adopting this policy. Notable institutions that will require vaccinations include Yale, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Syracuse, University of California, Cornell, and more.

Vaccination is still a choice, however. Vaccinations remain mandatory only for students who wish to attend class in person. Should a student not be able to get a vaccine due to medical or religious reasons, they can request an exemption that will be discussed on a case-by-case basis. If a student simply does not wish to get vaccinated, they will be able to carry out their education remotely online. Not everyone is happy with this decision, however, and some students across the nation have taken up protesting the mandate.

COVID in American Colleges

During the 2020-2021 school year, colleges saw a drastic rise and fall in COVID cases on campus. Numbers slowly rose in the fall semester before peaking in the spring and falling again as summer vacation approached. With vaccines becoming more readily available and cases in the United States remaining relatively constant, we will hopefully see a much more “normal” fall semester in the coming months.


We hope this information on vaccinated students’ return to campus is helpful to you.

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