By Carol Tannenhauser
Columbia and Fordham Universities have made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all students who will be present on their campuses this fall, according to statements from both universities. Columbia’s main campus is located at West 116th Street and Broadway, and Fordham has its Manhattan campus on West 60th Street near Lincoln Center.
“We regard this decision as essential to ensuring the health of Columbia students and the broader University and surrounding community,” Columbia stated, “and also to containing the spread of the virus in New York City, one of the most severely affected locations in the country throughout this past 13 months.”
The vaccine mandate will be integrated into the “Columbia Community Health Compact,” an agreement all students must sign in order to access campus facilities,” the statement said. “The mandate will take its place alongside our testing program and public health protocols, including face covering and physical distancing. Adherence to the Compact has enabled us to maintain a COVID-19 test positivity rate of just 0.39% since June 2020.”
Columbia currently operates three vaccination sites for its affiliates, two of which offer the vaccine to family members, plus a pop-up weekend site on its Manhattanville campus for the surrounding community.
Calling vaccinations “the path to the end of the pandemic,” Fordham University’s president, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., sent a letter to the Fordham community last week, stressing the importance of the vaccine in containing the variant strains of COVID-19, which are more prevalent in the U.S. now, and more contagious.
“Vaccination is the best protection against all COVID-19 variants,” Father McShane wrote. “Therefore the University will require all students—undergraduates and students in graduate and professional schools—to be vaccinated by the opening of the Fall semester (medical and religious accommodations will be considered), and it is the University’s strong expectation that all faculty, staff, and administrators likewise be fully vaccinated on or before the beginning of the Fall semester. The University will offer on-campus vaccinations upon arrival to international students who could not be vaccinated in their home countries.”
Fordham is also offering on-campus vaccinations. For more information, go to Fordham’s vaccination policy here.
Smells like a lawsuit.
Students can always apply for medical or religious exemptions. Or better yet, just withdraw and the school and the community will be better off for it.
NYS no longer accepts a Religious exemption and medical exemptions are limited to a very few medical conditions (organ transplant etc) but in this case, the vaccine benefits would out weight any need for exemption if a compromised student was attending in person University. Would be difficult for the DOH of NYC to approve this request. Also, Polio is not required for most secondary education. Typically the ask for MMR, Meningococcal. Sometimes Tdap.
A loser of one, yep. Or will the plaintiffs also be suing for the right to come to school without polio, MMR, and other vaccines that are already commonly mandated?
I had to prove I had certain vaccination to attend college over 10 years ago
Makes sense to me – If you want an on-site education then you must protect yourself and others. This should be common sense and not a legal matter . I hope more and more of this becomes mandatory across public and private institutions.
Hmmm. Why doesn’t the mandate include staff?
When they conflict, public health should be more important than religious liberty. In situations like this, I don’t understand why this nation (or merely the current Supreme Court?) defers to faith–belief without evidence. It’s the epitome of antiscience. At some point, reality or a virus bites you in the @$$.
“…it is the University’s strong expectation that all faculty, STAFF, and administrators likewise be fully vaccinated on or before the beginning of the Fall semester.” [my caps]
I agree. All staff regardless of where they live or work must be vaccinated, and, tedious as it may be, everyone’s vaccine history must be checked.
It’s likely (at Columbia at least) that faculty and staff will have to, it’s being debated now. But typically faculty and staff don’t live in dorms where the virus can rip through a community at speed. Faculty have also been eligible for the vaccine for months now, in contrast most 18-21 year olds have only recently become eligible.
Announcing students have to have it at this time gives them time to get the vaccine wherever they are now, and not necessarily wait until they arrive in New York (where they will be able to receive it on campus).
Also, “staff” is very general term for a university. Lots of staff members are never on campus.
“Religious” considerations? No exceptions for superstition! If you’re truly an educational institution, you go with science. Unmasked, nose-uncovered, undistanced idiots in the streets, shops, and parks are more than sufficient sources of contagion. Vaccinate.
OK, but what about “my body, my choice?”