Unvaccinated People Will Be Banned From Here, Starting Aug. 1
Some officials are sticking with vaccine mandates as COVID's path becomes less certain.
Over the last two years, it's become clearer and clearer that the path of the COVID pandemic is anything but certain. In the first six months of 2022, the U.S. has experienced both a record high for new daily cases as well as a decline in infections so significant that officials lifted nearly every restriction. Despite cases rising rather notably in May, they're now on the decline once more—it can be a challenge to keep up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been an average of 100,684 daily new cases in U.S. over the last week, a more than 8 percent decrease from the week prior. But even as infections fall, experts like top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, have already warned that the country could see another significant COVID surge this fall, if not sooner.
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Amid the height of the Delta variant wave last year, officials around the U.S. chose to enact vaccine mandates as an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID. Large companies such as United Airlines and Citigroup started requiring their employees to provide proof of vaccination to keep their jobs, while major cities like New York and Los Angeles began making patrons show vaccine cards before entering indoor businesses.
Most of these requirements remained in place throughout the beginning of 2022, as the country was battling the peak of a massive COVID surge from the Omicron variant. But once the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the White House's vaccine mandate for federal workers and numbers began falling substantially, these restrictions were quickly dropped. New York lifted its vaccine mandates for indoor businesses in mid-February, while United Airlines started to let some of its unvaccinated employees return to their jobs in late March.
But given that there is still a daily average of over 100,000 new COVID cases and experts are warning about a potential fall surge, not everyone is as ready to drop these requirements. In fact, some institutions are swinging the opposite direction and expanding vaccine mandates.
On June 6, DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, updated its COVID guidelines for the upcoming year, informing everyone that the university will be requiring students and employees to be up-to-date with their COVID vaccines.
"The CDC defines someone as up to date with COVID-19 vaccines when they have received all doses in the primary series and all recommended boosters, when eligible," the university states on its website.
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According to the updated guidelines, both incoming and returning DePauw students are required to be vaccinated for the fall semester. The university says that incoming students must report their vaccine and booster information on their immunization record by Aug. 1. Employees will also have a form to enter their information, while returning students who have received their booster should provide staff a copy of their booster vaccination.
DePauw says it will consider medical and religious exemptions for both students and employees, as it does with the flu vaccine. But those exempt from the vaccine mandate will be subject to additional protocols from the university.
"Requiring vaccines is the best way to protect everyone's health, including those among us who are most vulnerable to serious illness; to prevent unexpected, new clusters of the virus on campus that could result in closing campus; and to enable us to live, learn and work together with the least amount of restriction," DePauw President Lori White said in a statement last year when the university first implemented vaccine mandates for students and employees.
DePauw is not the only educational institution that has already revealed plans to require COVID vaccines for the rest of the 2022. The City University of New York (CUNY) says on its website that students taking either in-person or hybrid courses must be up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations before classes begin for both the summer and fall 2022 semesters. The deadline to submit proof of vaccination is 10 days before classes start for both semesters.
Other schools that already have vaccine mandates in place for the upcoming semesters include the University of Vermont, Cornell University, and Ventura College.
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