Brown announces fall student vaccination requirement

BROWN UNIVERSITY announced its plans for its mostly in-person fall 2021 semester, which includes a requirement that students returning to campus be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. / AP FILE PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE

PROVIDENCE – Brown University announced plans for a mostly in-person fall semester return that will require all students on campus to have received a COVID-19 vaccine, University President Christina H. Paxson said in a letter to the school community Tuesday.

The university noted that medical and religious exemptions will be granted to students and accommodations will be provided for those who do not get vaccinated under those exemptions.

Undergraduate and graduate students that do not get vaccinated and do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to campus, the university said, and will be required to petition to study remotely or take a leave of absence. Medical students that do not get the vaccine and are not exempt will receive more information from the Warren Alpert School administration.

The university said that it is also looking into which courses can effectively be implemented in an online or hybrid format to accommodate students who cannot return to campus this fall due to health concerns, travel restrictions or other hardships.

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“Although not all courses will be available remotely, we anticipate that the majority of students who study remotely will be able to make educational progress,” Paxson said.

The university also noted that its COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group is working to access whether vaccinations against COVID-19 will be mandatory for employees and expects recommendations by June 1. Paxson noted that the university “strongly encourages all community members to get the vaccine when they are eligible.”

The university said that its plans for the fall semester are based on achieving a high level of immunity among students and employees. Those plans include a two-semester academic calendar, with all students invited to enroll in person, standard enrollment and class size, standard lab and research operations, standard room occupancy for student residences and the university said that on-campus student residency requirements will be restored, among other operation changes.

“As has been the case throughout this pandemic, Brown’s planning is based on current public health circumstances, which continue to shift. There is still significant uncertainty about how the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve across regions of the country and the world in the coming months. Please understand the need for flexibility, as we may need to make changes to the plans outlined in this letter,” Paxson wrote.

Roger Williams University also announced last week that the university will require students returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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