Will more Northeast Ohio universities mandate vaccinations?


CLEVELAND (WJW) – College students across Northeast Ohio are returning to campus this week right as Delta variant cases continue to soar.

It’s a fact that has some students wondering if more universities will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for both students and staff.

“It’s a possibility but… it’s up to the people if they want to get the vaccine or not, so I think it should be a choice rather than mandated through the school,” said Kent State University freshman Cassidy Dagnen.

There is no current COVID-19 vaccine requirement at Kent State University, but students are being asked to register their status with the school. Those who participate and are vaccinated are eligible for prizes, including free room and board for a semester.

“I think it will change with the Delta variant. I think it’s going to be mandated that we get the vaccine and I think it should be mandated,” said Reann Santilla, a freshman at Kent State University.

COVID-19 vaccinations are mandatory at Case Western Reserve University for students, faculty and staff as of late July.

In a notice sent to the campus community, the university announced those who are unvaccinated and did not formally request a medical or religious exemption, or did not plan on getting vaccinated with help from the university, could not return to campus starting July 23.

“I felt like it was a smart decision at the time to help control the spread,” said freshman Aidan Mercado of Case Western Reserve University.

Baldwin Wallace University is not requiring the vaccine. A university spokesperson said since classes started on Monday, they have noted “good compliance with our indoor mask requirement and other COVID protocols, which include regular surveillance testing for unvaccinated residential students.”

Cleveland State University has a similar message. A spokesperson stated in part, “We continually evaluate and consider updates to our safety protocols. At this time, no changes are being made. We continue to strongly recommend that our students, faculty and staff get vaccinated.”

Short of a mandate for some students who are unvaccinated, this school year means the chance to make their own decisions about their health.

“I am not vaccinated. It’s a family thing, but I plan on getting vaccinated here,” said Santilla.

This week, the US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine for people above the age of 16.

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