Rutgers University in New Jersey will now require students to receive COVID-19 vaccines before returning to campus this fall.
University faculty and staff, however, will not be required to get the vaccine, though the school strongly advised those people to receive the shot.
What are the details?
According to ABC News, Rutgers announced on Thursday it will require coronavirus vaccinations for all students before they can visit any of the school’s three campuses this fall.
There will, however, be a limited case-by-case exemption for religious or medical reasons.
Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, told the outlet that the state’s vaccination rates have been promising, and that it’s high time for students to get back to a sense of normalcy.
“They need to get some sense of normalcy back in their lives,” Calcado said. “They need to experience the college experience. We really firmly believe that.”
The school has also advised students who are not yet 18 years old to receive the Pfizer vaccine rather than Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, as it is approved to be administered to people as young as 16 years old.
Calcado said that he believes other schools will follow suit and require students to receive the shot as well.
“I suspect that others will look at this and do the same thing,” Calcado said. “That’s just speculation on my part.”
In a statement posted on the university’s website, Calcado added, “Since the start of the pandemic, we have said that the safety of the Rutgers community is a shared responsibility. An effective vaccination program is a continuation of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of our community of more than 71,000 students, the cities we are in and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey.”
Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway also shared remarks in the statement, saying, “We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students.”
Dory Devlin, a spokesperson for the university, told USA Today that school officials chose to focus on vaccinating students rather than faculty or employees since they are “easily identified” as “creating transmission and infection.”
“Given that students are easily identified as a cohort creating transmission and infection, we chose to concentrate on them,” she said in a statement. “Further, this is the community that goes back to their extended families and communities, and we believe that by concentrating on them we will make New Jersey safer.”