Each year, millions of students worry about whether their grades will be good enough to win a place at their dream university, and whether they can afford a college education.
This September, many will have to meet a new requirement: proof of complete vaccination against Covid-19.
Hundreds of US universities and colleges have made full vaccination mandatory for students who want to live and study on campus in the fall, arguing that it will create a safer environment for personal teaching.
“I’m happy about it,” said Alex, a business student at New York University, who declined to give his surname. “It is reassuring to know that we will be with people who have definitely been vaccinated.”
While some students feel more comfortable attending lectures and playing sports with their vaccinated peers, the policies have angered others who argue that forced punches are unethical, highlighting the problems that mandatory vaccinations can create.
“I think it’s horrific and harmful,” said Shida Bangu Bango, an English student at the University of Maryland, who joined others last week to protest her university’s decision to require vaccination.
“I am all about personal independence. If you want to get vaccinated every day for the rest of the year, go ahead.”
About 20 million students enrolled in universities across the United States last year, a large segment of the population which, if vaccinated, would help reduce infection levels and risk of infection. new variables evolve.
Anyone over the age of 18 can receive one of three Covid vaccines in the United States, where access to the vaccine has been rapidly expanded. Other countries, including the United Kingdom and large parts of Europe, have not yet vaccinated young people, so similar policies have not been introduced.
Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first to announce that its students must be fully vaccinated before returning in the fall. She has followed hundreds of institutions since then, including some of the nation’s most prestigious schools such as Yale, Stanford, and Harvard.
“The mandate is moral and it must be done,” said Lynn Pasquierella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities of more than 1,200 members.
“Students who go to the classroom or lab should not be concerned that they will be at risk.”
Universities say students should be fully vaccinated before returning, two weeks after a Johnson & Johnson dose or a second dose of the Moderna or BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. Exemptions are given for religious or medical reasons.
to international studentsOn which top US institutions rely for steady income, vaccines will be available in temporary locations at some universities, leaving little room for avoidance. Other than that, students are encouraged to get vaccinated once they arrive in the United States.
Columbia University and Harvard are among the universities that require students to upload a proof of vaccination online while others such as Yale are still fine-tuning the details of the best way to check.
Jeffrey Nolan, an education attorney at Holland and Knight, said that as long as universities keep student data secure, there is no legal problem with requiring proof of vaccination. “They say you can make your own choices, but if you choose to come to our campus, you should get vaccinated,” he said.
Protests erupted across the country against these policies. Hundreds of Rutgers University students took to the streets in May to protest the university’s decision While in Annapolis, students rallied against the vaccination requirements of the University of Maryland system.
Nolan compared vaccine mandates to other “reasonable safety measures” at universities. “You can’t put a candle in your room to prevent fires, that’s part of the compromise people make when they decide to go to a particular school.”
Some universities fear that mandatory vaccinations will affect communities of color, who are more hesitant about punchesfrom attending college.
The Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, which includes 15 institutions across the state, has said it is critical to meet the needs of all of its students who often face “disproportionate access to a Covid-19 vaccine” and that enforcing vaccination could create “additional barriers for our students.”
While private organizations are able to enforce their own rules, public universities must follow state rules. This has led to disagreements between some universities and their legislators, especially in Republic countries Including Florida, Texas and Arizona, where governors have issued orders prohibiting universities from enforcing vaccination or requiring proof.
Last week, Indiana State Attorney Todd Rocetta said that Indiana University requiring its students to prove vaccination is “clearly inconsistent with state law.” The university then said it will ask students to sign a form certifying that they have been immunized, rather than asking for evidence.
In Florida, Nova Southeastern University said it would mandate the vaccination in April, only for the state to pass a law banning the move later. Then the university did its part and now strongly encourages its students to get immunized.
The trend in students’ views of vaccination reflects the broader United States’ view. Nearly a third of Republican students say they won’t get vaccinated, compared to 4 percent of Democrats, according to figures from research firm College Pulse.
The demand for vaccines has been a drastic but necessary shift in attitudes in the United States, Bakirella said. We are used to looking at individual rights. . . We need to focus on collective responsibility.”