On April 28, President Wendy Raymond sent a message to the community confirming what has been suggested by administrators for weeks: Haverford College will require a COVID-19 vaccination for all students intending to be on campus next semester, either living in college housing or as commuter students. Per the announcement, which was co-signed by Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy, this mandate will apply to all students in the Bi-Co.
When the Clerk spoke with President Raymond and Vice President and Chief of Staff Jesse Lytle on April 9, we asked about the possibility of a vaccine requirement. According to President Raymond, “[the administration] anticipate[s] that—especially once the federal government fully approves the vaccines—we’ll require vaccination for all students,” with standard religious and health exceptions.
President Raymond’s announcement promised that more information about opportunities to get the vaccine outside of the ongoing partnership with Rite Aid and possible exemptions for students are both to come.
According to Haverford’s “brain trust” of infectious disease experts, a high rate of vaccination in the community is an integral part of a normal return to campus in the fall, alongside masking under some circumstances and continued COVID-19 testing.
This announcement comes in the middle of a campus-wide vaccination campaign, which has given all students, faculty, and staff who are physically able to get to campus the opportunity to get vaccinated. However, for some students, including international students currently residing outside of the United States, the vaccine is not necessarily so readily available.
According to an email from Director of Clinical Services Kathy McGovern on April 19, the COVID-19 vaccine will also be required for students who are living in the Haverford College Apartments over the summer.
As of now, neither college is requiring the vaccine for staff or faculty. The email offers little information for non-students but promises a forthcoming timeline for a decision to be released by each college as they make their plans for a fall return to campus.
Along with Bryn Mawr, Haverford’s current requirement is in line with the University of Pennsylvania’s plan for the fall, which announced it would require vaccines for students on April 22. Other local institutions of higher education, such as Villanova University and Swarthmore College have yet to make a public decision about whether they will require vaccinations.
Wow, just like Jorge Orwell’s book Animal Crossing set in 1984.
Tough decision for students who may have wanted to wait for the phase 3 clinical trials to progress to full approval by the FDA and not have to sign away so much on the waiver forms. Interesting that the large UC and Cal State systems predicated their mandate on the vaccine achieving approval by the fall. This seems like a kinder and more thoughtful/scientific approach. Interesting also that it does not apply to faculty and staff. Can employers mandate injection with a non-approved vaccine as a condition of employment? Fascinating question. Perhaps the view here is that institutions have more legal basis to mandate for students (customers) but not employees. Such a mosaic of approaches. MLB concluded it shouldn’t mandate vaccination as a condition to attend games after studying the preferences/attitudes of their core demographic. Community colleges are concluding the same. Really hoping there are not 1% to 3% incidence severe side effects that emerge in 1-2 years that would have been revealed during the normal clinical trials timeline. That is the disaster scenario (unless you are a lawyer).