Southern New Hampshire University joins a list of colleges across the nation requiring students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to return to campus in the fall.
In a “vaccination update” posted on its website, the college said students will need to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19, or proof of medical or religious exemption to attend classes on its campus for the fall 2021 semester.
President Paul LeBlanc said the college formed a task force at the beginning of the pandemic made up of health professionals and campus life representatives. It has followed public health policy and what colleges and universities are doing.
“We were looking at the question of, ‘How do we bring people back to campus in the most safe fashion possible in the fall?’” he said on Sunday.
The campus has been closed for the 2020-2021 school year. The campus will reopen in the fall, “barring the catastrophic,” LeBlanc said.
“We really, really would like to get everybody back on campus if we could, and as close to normal as we can,” he said. The campus typically has about 3,000 people.
The college will work with existing health policies for vaccinations and vaccination exemptions.
One returning student reached out to LeBlanc via email with hesitancy about getting the vaccine and asked for an accommodation. More information will be provided to the student, LeBlanc said.
“We are monitoring the social media chat and I’d say it’s overwhelmingly positive,” LeBlanc said.
The college said widespread vaccination is critical for its plans to return to campus and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Recent research shows that COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are safe and effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and the spread of COVID-19,” the update reads.
The college “strongly encourages” all on-site and remote employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
“While SNHU is not requiring employees to be vaccinated to be onsite right now, the SNHU COVID-19 task force will continue to monitor health and safety recommendations and may require vaccination in the future for on-site work,” the update reads.
Earlier this month, Dartmouth College announced it will require all students showing up for the fall term to prove they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.