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COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Updated June 22, 2021

Dear Students,

This is in follow-up to my May 24, 2021 email on this subject.  Thanks to you and the rest of the campus community, we were able to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus this past academic year by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and practicing good personal hygiene.  Now, with the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines we believe that we can return to a pre-pandemic campus life this fall, provided the vast majority of our community gets vaccinated.  All three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – in addition to the 8 approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for our international student population-have proven to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the risk of serious illness if the disease is contracted. 

All students registered for fall 2021 classes will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to Health Services by July 23, 2021 regardless whether they are residential/commuter, undergraduate/graduate/professional, or taking courses remotely but living locally.  In short, any student who lives on campus and/or participates in on-campus classes, studies, research, or activities must be vaccinated unless exempted due to medical or religious reasons, or granted a waiver as a result of taking all courses remotely and not living locally (i.e., residing in states outside of New England and New York). 

Proof of vaccination can be accomplished by uploading an image of your completed COVID-19 vaccination card to covidvac@wne.edu.  Please be sure your vaccination card includes your name, date of birth, vaccine brand, and date(s) of vaccination.  Students must be fully vaccinated before their earliest return to campus, which means completing the dosage protocol of the particular vaccine (one injection for Janssen/J&J or two injections for Pfizer and Moderna) and completing the two-week waiting period for optimal effectiveness. 

WNE’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is intended to mitigate the risk of infection among members of the University community, especially given our fall plan to return to pre-pandemic norms in the classrooms, residence halls, University Commons, athletics/recreational facilities, and throughout campus.  This policy is consistent with the requirement that many universities have regarding vaccinations for the flu, measles, mumps, rubella, etc.

In late spring, the University offered every student the opportunity to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, but those who have not yet been vaccinated are urged to do so as soon as possible so that this does not become an issue as you prepare to return to classes this fall. 

Students seeking an exemption for medical and religious reasons must complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Request Form by July 23, 2021, and submit the completed request to COVIDVAC@wne.edu .  Note that medical exemption requests will require a verification letter from your medical provider – and will need to be uploaded to your WNE Health Portal. The medical exemption must indicate that the COVID-19 vaccine is medically contraindicated or otherwise detrimental to your health.  Please be aware that students granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons will be subject to heightened surveillance testing in order to mitigate the risk of infection.  Any questions about this policy should be directed to Health Services at 413-782-1211 or healthservices@wne.edu.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation with our efforts aimed at keeping the entire Golden Bear family safe and healthy to the greatest extent possible in the coming year! 

Kerri P. Jarzabski
Vice President for Student Affairs