University of New England to require COVID-19 vaccines for fall 2021
The University of New England will require all students enrolled in classes on UNE’s campuses and all on-campus employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before the start of the fall 2021 semester.
UNE will allow for religious and medical exemptions to the policy, but vaccination will be required for specific clinical and academic programs and activities. In order to protect the health and safety of the UNE community, vaccination will also be required to participate in certain voluntary activities and programs. Those granted exemptions will be required to wear masks while on campus.
UNE made the decision after careful consideration and consultation with university’s medical and public health experts, the COVID-19 Response Committee, legal experts, and the student, faculty, and professional staff governing bodies
“We are learning more every day about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in protecting us from serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as the vaccines’ ability to prevent transmission of the virus to others,” said UNE President James Herbert. “As vaccines become increasingly available, we can all envision how this incredible scientific advancement will allow us to return to the normal UNE activities on our campuses we all miss so much.”
In the coming weeks, UNE’s COVID-19 Response Committee will carefully evaluate all aspect of the UNE Onward Plan and, with guidance from the federal and Maine CDCs, will update UNE’s health and safety protocols over the course of the spring and summer. While some safety measures may continue, UNE intends to provide a fall semester that is as close to normal as possible, with the goal of full occupancy in classrooms, residence halls, and labs.
UNE is also working with the Maine CDC to hold vaccine clinics on campus for students and employees. The university will hold its first clinic for students from May 5 to May 7 on the Biddeford Campus and will invite employees to be vaccinated if extra vaccine is available.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, I have watched our students, faculty, and professional staff demonstrate deep commitment to their work while making incredible sacrifices,” said Herbert. “I have been especially saddened by what our students have lost, and I am eager to restore the full and vibrant experience of a UNE education as soon as possible. I encourage all students, faculty, and professional staff to take advantage of the many vaccination opportunities here in Maine or in their home state as soon as possible.”