COLORADO, USA — Colorado State University (CSU) and the University of Colorado (CU) joined several other higher education institutions in Colorado that have announced that students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the fall semester.
CSU said the requirement will be in place for its Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses if one or more COVID-19 vaccines are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, the three vaccine options available in the U.S. are being administered through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Exemptions allowed under state and federal law will be available.
CU also said in its announcement that exemptions are available and said additional details will be announced soon.
Metro State University of Denver (MSU) and the University of Northern Colorado also announced requirements this week. MSU said the requirement extends to all faculty and staff.
The news comes a day after Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) expressed public support of the requirement that was already adopted by several other Colorado schools.
“Vaccines are the gateway to ending this pandemic," Polis said during a news conference Tuesday. "That is why we all need to do our part to get as many Coloradans vaccinated as possible.
"That is why I expect that most higher education institutions will provide parents and students the peace of mind they want by making vaccines a requirement for next fall, and students want to get vaccinated so they can enjoy the full college experience," Polis said. "Those two or four years fly by quickly, and students have already missed out on so many important social experiences over the last few semesters."
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Fort Lewis College near Durango was the first school to make the announcement that vaccines would be required for students. It was followed this month by the University of Denver and Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
Colorado College made the announcement on Monday that all students, faculty and staff who live, learn, work on and access campus for the 2021-22 academic year need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Regis University announced May 13 it would require COVID-19 vaccinations for fall classes. The school said it is adding it to its current list of required immunizations for students and staff.
“Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 and known variants. That means getting a vaccine is the most loving and moral thing we can make to protect everyone’s health and ensure a return to in-person classes, athletics and all campus life for both our residential and commuter students,” said Regis University President the Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J. “To get back to normal we must reduce the risk of infection and anxiety for everyone. This is the pathway to that normal.”
Regis said it will accommodate exemptions based on medical and religious reasons, but anticipated a high-level of compliance. The school said typically fewer than 20 students a year request an exemption.
Following the comment by Polis, the Colorado Department of Higher Education expressed support for a vaccine requirement ahead of the fall semester.
"After discussions with our institution presidents and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), we think it’s appropriate to expect our colleges and universities to require students to be fully vaccinated this fall,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDPHE.
“With the recent uptick in cases and the rise in variants, we want to do what we can to protect the health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and communities," Paccione said. "We strongly urge our students to get fully vaccinated and be prepared for in-person instruction and campus activities.”
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So far, all of the institutions that have announced requirements said students will need to provide proof of vaccination or an exemption before the fall semester.
Exact details about the different processes have not been released yet.
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