COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement - April 26, 2021
Dear Simmons Community,
Last month, I wrote about how excited I am for our vibrant reopening of campus in Fall 2021, which will include in-classroom learning, at-capacity residence halls, and participation in on-campus activities. I also shared that Simmons would continue to monitor public health guidelines around COVID-19 and vaccinations.
Throughout this pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of our community and ensuring a transformative learning experience for students. Today I am writing to announce a new health and safety measure that will help us achieve both of these goals. After much consideration, we have decided that Simmons will require all students who are enrolled in classes on our campus to be vaccinated before they arrive on campus in the fall.
This requirement also includes students who participate in face-to-face curricular and co-curricular activities at any of our Boston or remote locations, including all face-to-face classes, immersion weekends, off-site cohorts, and other in-person events at these locations. The requirement does not apply to students in field placements and internships, but those students must comply with all health and safety regulations for the site at which they are placed.
We are making this announcement now in part due to the expansion of vaccine availability in the Commonwealth. All individuals sixteen or older – including students – who live, work or study in Massachusetts are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine. We encourage everyone to get their vaccine as soon as possible. Individuals can pre-register for an appointment at one of the Commonwealth’s mass vaccination sites, or they can access and schedule an appointment through vaxfinder.mass.gov or MaCovidVaccines.com.
The progress we are making on vaccination rates is critical to our ability to achieve a vibrant on-campus living and learning experience this fall. Science has shown that the vaccines are very effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and to help prevent serious illness and hospitalization. Our goal is to have all students vaccinated before the fall semester begins, and given the increasing availability of vaccines, we believe this is very achievable. To meet this requirement, students should aim to get their first shot before July 1.
Students may reach out to the Simmons University Health Center to discuss the process for requesting a medical or religious exemption to the COVID vaccination policy, as they can for other vaccine requirements. We will be sharing additional details about how to submit proof of vaccination in the coming weeks. Please submit questions to [email protected] and visit our website for vaccine-related FAQs.
The COVID-19 vaccination requirement will complement the hard work already underway to ensure a safe return to campus, which includes the installation of new HVAC in the Main College Building; inspections of ventilation systems on the academic campus; new signage; readily available PPE; and stringent cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting protocols.
While we look forward to a lively fall experience, we understand that COVID-19 cases are still on the rise in parts of the country. I urge everyone to continue to follow university, local, state and federal health guidance – which is designed to keep all of us safe.
Lynn Perry Wooten
President, Simmons University