On Friday, Cornell University released a statement saying it plans to require COVID-19 vaccines for students returning on campus this fall.
This follows the announcement last week by Rutgers, located in New Jersey, who became the first major university to announce it would require students and staff to be vaccinated before the fall semester.
The Cornell statement quotes University President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff saying, “With the recent announcements of expanded vaccine eligibility in New York and other states, and increasing vaccine production, it is likely that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer.”
“Accordingly, Cornell intends to require vaccination for students returning to Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses for the fall semester.”
The fall semester for students at Cornell is set to start the week of September 2. The school is home to 23,620 students, including some 15,000 undergraduates and 6,000 grad students.
Students are expected to get the shot "as soon after their arrival as possible." Students, faculty and staff will be directed to a “proof of vaccination” online portal where they will be required to enter their ‘vaccination status.” The portal will be available starting April 15.
Cornell has reported 68 people on campus tested positive for COVID-19 during the week of March 26 until April 1.
Cornell hopes to achieve “herd immunity” clarifying further that is “the degree of immunity is sufficient to prevent the spread of virus within the community,” then ‘classes normally taught in person will return to that mode of instruction, without any routinely scheduled online option.”
Requiring vaccines from students is nothing new for universities who have routinely required students and staff to get vaccinated for other ailments including mumps, rubella (MMR), bacterial meningitis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, and influenza among others.
Other colleges and universities in Florida and across the country are expected to follow in the footsteps of Cornell and Rutgers as the calendar moves closer to the 2021 fall semester.
For the Cornell University statement, click here.