NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers University says it will require that all students be vaccinated for the coronavirus before arriving for classes in the fall.
The university said in statement Thursday that assurances from the federal government of vaccine supply for all Americans prompted them to make the decision.
“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway.
The university says students may request an exemption from vaccination for medical or religious reasons.
Students participating in online-only classes will not be required to be vaccinated.
A university official says faculty and staff are strongly urged to receive the vaccination and students enrolling at Rutgers who are under 18 will be advised to receive the Pfizer vaccine because it's approved for people age 16 and up. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 years and older.
In a message to the Rutgers community, university officials noted widespread vaccination will accelerate the return to a pre-pandemic normal on the school’s campuses, including increased in-person course offerings, more on-campus events and activities and more collaboration in instructional and research projects.
“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs at Rutgers. “Vaccination is key to stopping the current pandemic and to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic drastically changed life at Rutgers.”