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How Colleges are Planning to House Students Safely Amid the Pandemic

College students haven’t been able to do much over the past year and a half, but as higher education institutions prepare for fall classes they may be able to return to college life as they know it.

Dormitories, college football games and of course lots of partying.

College students haven’t been able to do much of the above over the past year and a half, but as higher education institutions prepare for fall classes they may be able to return to college life as they know it.

For example, the UC Schools in California have begun to release plans for fall instruction, and states as a whole it plans to return to primarily in-person instruction as of fall 2021.

On April 22 it created a proposed policy on “COVID-19 vaccination as part of its engagement with its community as it joins the California State University in supporting immunizations as part of an expected return of students, faculty, academic appointees, and staff to in-person instruction across the state this fall.” 

“Receiving a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is a key step people can take to protect themselves, their friends and family, and our campus communities while helping bring the pandemic to an end,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. 

UC is fine-tuning the policy so students, faculty, academic appointees, and staff will have time to get the vaccine before the fall term.

“Under the proposed policy, the University would require students, faculty, academic appointees, and staff who are accessing campus facilities at any UC location beginning this fall to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. UC already strongly encourages students, faculty, academic appointees, and staff to voluntarily obtain a vaccination as soon as they are eligible and able to schedule an appointment. The requirement would go into effect once a vaccine has full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Students planning to access UC campuses for the fall must update their immunization documentation on file to indicate vaccination or an approved exception or medical exemption before coming on campus.

For those who can’t get a vaccine before campus arrival, student health centers may be able to help find a place for vaccination, but special protections may be required. Physical distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent handwashing will continue to be part of daily campus life.

In NYC

Per New York State guidance and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the State University of New York will require all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall.

A report says, by SUNY “Doing mandatory vaccination, now, will allow campuses to reopen in the fall.”

Students on campus for the remainder of the spring semester should continue to follow mandated public health guidelines and campus rules, including mask-wearing and social distancing except where allowances may be made for fully vaccinated people.

New Rules for Mask-Wearing on Campus

Following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SUNY is allowing anyone who is fully vaccinated (two weeks after the final dose of any vaccine regimen) to conduct outdoor activities and gather outdoors without masks, except in certain crowded settings or venues.

If not yet fully vaccinated, a person must continue to always wear a mask on campus, except when in their private residential space, when eating meals while seated and socially distanced, and when alone.

In Michigan

On April 7 any Oakland University student living in on-campus housing this fall must get the COVID-19 vaccine before fall move-in in August.

Students may get an exception for a religious or medical reason.

Bob Murphy, chief policy officer at the Michigan Association of State Universities said, “We’ve all been considering this for a long time about what is the best way to have a fall semester that is as normal and as safe as possible, and so obviously immunization is a big part of that.”

University System of Georgia

On May 17, the University System of Georgia announced it adjusted its mask policy, WSBTV News reported.

In the fall, fully vaccinated employees and students will not be required to wear a mask while in class or at other activities.

Those who have not been vaccinated are “strongly encouraged” to continue wearing their masks inside, the report added.

At Penn State

The Faculty Senate of Pennsylvania State University voted — 113 to 31 – requiring its students and employees to be vaccinated by fall, WTAJ News reported.

The vote is not binding on the administration and Provost Nicholas Jones said officials are working on incentives for students to get vaccinated.

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