Breaking: New vaccination requirements allow for return to near-normal

Allison Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

This fall, Whitman has chosen to require vaccinations for students, faculty, staff, volunteers and campus visitors, according to an email from Coronavirus Task Force Chair Peter Harvey.

As a “‘fully vaccinated campus’… in most cases, we will be able to return to an environment very close to life before the pandemic, including returning to pre-COVID capacities for campus spaces (including classrooms), removing masking and social distance requirements for both indoor and outdoor spaces and welcoming fully-vaccinated visitors back to campus.”

Those who are unable to receive a vaccine in their current location will be given quarantine housing upon arriving to campus, with the assumption that will be vaccinated as soon as possible. If one elects to delay vaccination until one or more COVID-19 vaccines is fully FDA approved, they are still required to receive it once an FDA approved vaccine is available. 

Despite the status of “fully vaccinated campus,” the school is still allowing for vaccination exemptions for medical and religious reasons. In addition, those who have received an exemption and are not vaccinated will be required to continue masking indoors and maintaining a distance of at least three feet from others. They will also be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing and the self-reported daily check-in. 

“We have made exemptions available because we believe this is the only way we can otherwise require vaccines in a way that meets local, state and federal guidelines for both students and employees, and that mitigates risk related to potential COVID-related legal challenges,” Harvey said. 

Whitman community members who have submitted proof of vaccination will have a sticker certifying that they are approved to be on campus in the fall added to their school ID cards. All campus buildings will continue to require card swipe access to ensure only vaccinated individuals can gain entry. 

More information about each exemption and how to apply for an exemption are available in the COVID-19 vaccination policy.