Rutgers requires a COVID-19 vaccine to resume in-person learning. Will other NJ colleges follow suit?
Colleges across New Jersey want students back on campus by the fall. But will students be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine?
Rutgers University is so far the only university to issue the requirement for students who want to learn inside a classroom or live in a dormitory. Some students at other colleges in New Jersey say that they would feel more comfortable if their school required the vaccine as well.
“I think they’re able to mandate all types of vaccines. This shouldn’t be any different,” says Princeton University student Eleanor Bauer.
“Honestly, I think I would feel safer if we had that mandate,” says Princeton student Laura Fang. “I can see Princeton giving an order like that.”
These students are still learning remotely but a large population of students could return to campus in February, if they agree to be tested for coronavirus twice a week.
“It’s very simple. We use a noninvasive test, so all you do is spit in a tube. It takes two or three minutes every day. I don’t mind it,” says Fang.
Princeton University is planning to have all students and staff back on campus in fall. When it comes to the prospect of a mandatory vaccine, a spokesperson for Princeton says, "We have not determined whether a COVID vaccine will be mandatory for students next fall. We will make a decision in the coming months about that and other health protocols for fall 2021 with a focus on the health and safety of the University community and guided by government requirements, public health best practices and the state of the pandemic."
Other colleges like Montclair State and Rowan University also want students resuming in-person learning. However, neither has mentioned whether a vaccine is necessary.
In a statement, the president of Rowan says, "I expect our classrooms, research labs, recreation facilities and residence halls will be busy and full of activity once again. We'll also return to in-person student activities and events."