Columbia University will require students and staffers to get COVID-19 vaccinations to return to school in the fall.
“On the strong recommendation of our public health colleagues, who have advised us so ably throughout this process, President Bollinger and the Columbia University COVID Task Force have decided to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all students who are present on campus, starting this fall,” read an email to students and staff.
The Morningside Heights school said that they will entertain requests for religious and medical exemptions.
Vaccinating the entire student body, officials said, will help to restore a “vibrant and full experience” for the upcoming term.
While the school said it will seek to provide vaccination opportunities locally, students were encouraged to seek out the shot prior to returning to campus.
“We regard this decision as essential to ensuring the health of Columbia students and the broader University and surrounding community, and also to containing the spread of the virus in New York City, one of the most severely affected locations in the country throughout this past 13 months,” the announcement stated.
Students will still be required to observe social distancing and face covering requirements after receiving the vaccine.
The message noted that the school had already arranged for 11,000 students and staffers to get the jab and that thousands more have been immunized independently.
The city’s other major top-tier college, New York University, is encouraging students to get the vaccine but has yet to require it.