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For now, North Alabama colleges will not require students to get coronavirus vaccine

Rutgers University in New Jersey made headlines when they announced students registered for classes in fall 2021 will have to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 30, 2021 5:47 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2021 6:25 PM

The Alabama Community College System said they do not expect to implement a vaccination requirement for those who attend community colleges in the state. 

Athens State University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville said the same. They will continue to monitor any coronavirus changes, but as of right now, the universities don't intend to require the vaccine in the fall.

To some students, this is a relief. Allauna Garcia will be a freshman at the University of Alabama this upcoming fall. She asks that schools reconsider their decisions and require students to be vaccinated. 

"Just so that colleges don't have to go through what they had to in the beginning, where they had to shut down," said Garcia. 

Garcia dreams of having the college experience she thought about growing up. She said colleges can get back to normal if everyone's vaccinated. 

"It's more about people's health and people's lives, " said Garcia. "You should really care about others and not just yourself, but about the people around you."

Most colleges in the country require you to get the HPV and Meningococcal vaccines before attending in-person classes. 

Garcia said she sees the coronavirus vaccine as a vaccine they can add to that list of requirements. 

Other students feel differently. Athens State University senior, Aleya Maples, said it's her body and should be her choice.

"It is a free country," said Maples. "If they did make it a requirement, I would appreciate if they still offered online courses for those who didn't want to get the vaccine."

Maples said she does understand why some universities may make the coronavirus vaccine a requirement. 

"I know you're trying to protect not just your students but your staff," said Maples. "You can't really have a successful school year if your staff is out sick or attendance is down more than 50%." 

Despite this, Maples said there just isn't enough research on the coronavirus vaccine to make it a requirement of students. 

Oakwood University said they haven't made a decision on whether or not they'll require the coronavirus vaccine. Alabama A&M said they will follow Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines closer to the fall semester. 

Rutgers University in New Jersey made headlines when they announced students registered for classes in fall 2021 will have to be vaccinated against coronavirus. It said students will only be exempt from the coronavirus vaccine if there are religious reasons or medical concerns. 

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