Should students be required to get the vaccine before fall classes start?

Rutgers University is the first university in the U.S to require students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall. Photo Courtesy Rutgers University

With more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being available to the public, it is no surprise that people are ready to go back to their lives prior to the pandemic.

One example of that is the goal of returning to in-person learning for K-12 schools, colleges, universities and institutions of higher education.

On March 25, Rutgers University, located in New Brunswick, N.J., announced that students have to get the COVID-19 vaccine before starting in-person classes in the fall. This made Rutgers the first university in the U.S. to make the vaccine mandatory for attending classes.

All students who have religious or medical reasons, or are fully enrolled in online programs at the university, are exempt from having proof of receiving the vaccine.

The benefits that will come from this requirement are returning to a “pre-pandemic normal,” more face-to-face classes and experiences, a range of activities and events, more dining and recreation options, and more communication among students, faculty and researchers.

This decision has prompted other colleges to consider potential vaccine requirements for students returning to campus.

Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., recently announced that students and staff members will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus in the fall.

Many students have mixed reactions regarding decisions to require students to be fully vaccinated before attending in-person classes.

Florida A&M University student Zion Blakely plans on getting vaccinated but does not think that students should be forced to receive either vaccine.

“I have not received a vaccine yet,” Blakely said. “I do intend on getting a vaccine. I truthfully believe that students shouldn’t be forced to get the vaccine but rather suggested to increase the likelihood of lessening symptoms if caught to have self-autonomy for themselves.”

Florida State University student Conqualla Scott also plans on getting the vaccine. She also doesn’t think students should feel pressured into receiving it.

“I have not taken the vaccine but I do intend on doing so,” Scott said. “However, I do not think universities should not require students to be vaccinated. Although I believe it would be in the best interest for everyone to get vaccinated, I don’t believe people should be forced into making a decision.”

FAMU student Solazia Billington has not received the vaccine and says that requiring students to be vaccinated will be beneficial for everyone.

“I have not received the vaccine but I do intend on taking it,” Billington said. “Being that COVID can cause long-term health issues, especially among those with pre-existing conditions, I do believe that requiring the vaccine before allowing students to return is best for protecting everyone.”