Generalitat de Catalunya
Pace has announced that all students will be required to show proof of coronavirus vaccination before the beginning of the fall semester in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pace is planning to resume in-person learning in full capacity in September. Faculty and staff are “strongly urged” to get the vaccine in the announcement.
Pace has joined dozens of universities across the nation to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all students prior to the beginning of the fall semester. The mandate aims to curb COVID-19 cases in college campuses, which have caused several lockdowns.
“We will continue to follow all public health guidance on our campuses this fall. We expect that will continue to include face coverings and some amount of distance,” President Krislov said in a statement given to the Pace community.
In an early press release, Krislov said Pace will be fully operating in-person in the fall semester. The statement did not cover vaccination requirements or suggestions. The email sent on April 26 confirmed that all Pace students will need to submit a proof of vaccination through the Patient Portal.
The requirement excludes students who show religious and medical reasons as well as those who will be studying online in the fall. The same exemption already applies for Pace’s general vaccination requirement. Providing immunization records to an accredited college or university in New York is a state law.
International students will be required to present proof of vaccination but they will be allowed to show any type of vaccination that is obtained in their home country. Currently, the United States has granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
Pace was among the universities that opted to partially operate in-person lectures with many online and hybrid options. In the fall semester, all resident students were required to show a negative COVID-19 test to be allowed to enter residency halls. Starting in spring, the same rule applied to all commuter students. Additionally residential students were mandated to complete weekly COVID-19 tests.
The precautions come in an effort to curb the virus, which has claimed lives of more than 500,000 Americans. Vaccination requirements, face covering mandates, and social distancing rules will be applied in the fall to return to campus safely. Pace’s on-campus vaccination program has been on a hold due to rare blood clotting cases found in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is not known when or if the appointments will resume.
Immunization requirements are traditionally required in most American universities. However, it was not clear whether Pace would mandate its students to show a proof of the COVID-19 vaccination as the long term effects of the vaccine is not known. However, scientific studies and trials have shown that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are over 90% effective after the second dose.
The announcement drew backlash from students who are not willing to take the vaccine concerns over its safety. The petition, started by a nursing student, has been signed by over 350 students. The creator of the petition claims it is unfair for students to show proof of vaccination while excluding faculty members from the requirement. The owner of the petition also stated the overall survival rate of COVID-19 among college students and long term effects of the vaccine should make the safety and necessity of the vaccine questionable.