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Notre Dame to require COVID-19 vaccination for fall attendance

Notre Dame to require COVID-19 vaccination for fall attendance
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The University of Notre Dame declared this week that it will require the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for enrollment in the 2021-22 fall semester, joining a slate of other universities that plan to mandate vaccines for most students.

Executive officers at Notre Dame announced that undergraduate, graduate and professional students will have to be fully vaccinated to attend in the fall, according to a letter sent to the university community on Wednesday. The university said it will permit “documented medical and religious exemptions.”

The letter also said the university will accommodate for those who cannot get the vaccine ahead of the fall semester or those who received vaccines that are not approved in Indiana, which particularly applies to international students. 

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“Requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 is a new and important addition to our health policies, one that we believe will enhance public health at Notre Dame and in our community, while also contributing to our ability to return to a more vibrant campus environment," University President the Rev. John JenkinsJohn JenkinsNotre Dame to require COVID-19 vaccination for fall attendance MORE said in a release.

Notre Dame said it “strongly” urged students on campus to get vaccinated in the upcoming days and weeks as it opened a clinic on Thursday that offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The first dose will be available between April 8 and 15, and the second dose will be offered from April 29 to May 6.

The university created an online tool for students to register their vaccinations, noting that if 90 percent of students have been immunized in the upcoming weeks, Notre Dame will consider loosening some coronavirus restrictions

Notre Dame, like many other universities, also requires students to be vaccinated for hepatitis B, meningitis, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and chicken pox. Last fall, when Notre Dame reopened, it mandated the flu vaccine, allowing for medical and religious exemptions.

Other universities have announced similar vaccine requirements in recent days, including Brown University, Northeastern University, Cornell University and Rutgers University, permitting religious or medical exemptions. They say that these vaccine mandates will allow universities to move toward normalcy.

The educational institutions have started to make the controversial requirement for students as businesses have shied away from such mandates for employees thus far.