Wells College announced today that it will require all students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in time for the fall 2021 semester, which the College is planning to conduct fully in person. All members of the campus community are advised to receive their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) by no later than August 1, so that individuals will have full immunity by August 15, just prior to the start of the fall semester.
In a statement sent to all Wells students today, President Gibralter wrote: "I strongly believe that, as a residential college, the only path for Wells to return to normalcy is through the herd immunity provided through vaccination efforts." He added that the health and safety of everyone on campus, as well as our local Aurora community, continues to be our top priority.
The College made this decision in part because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American College Health Association, and other federal, state and county authorities have all strongly urged widespread vaccination as the most effective and efficient way to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission — especially in the type of congregate living environments that are found on college campuses. As per federal and state regulations, exemptions will be allowed for religious beliefs or medical reasons. The College is also creating this requirement with the expectation that the vaccines will receive full FDA approval before the fall semester begins.
"We were more successful than most colleges and universities in preventing the coronavirus from becoming widespread on campus during this past year," President Gibralter added. "That said, Wells College is designed primarily as a residential, in-person learning community, and we know that the only way we will be able to safely resume all aspects of that experience is through widespread vaccination efforts."