Hamline University announced that they will be requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID before classes commence in the fall. The University’s President Fayneese Miller said, “We want, and need, to be together as a community. We value a sense of community at Hamline and all that entails, but to return to what we value and who we are, mandating a COVID-19 vaccine is necessary.” The announcement was made on Thursday with the expectation that students will be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in August.

Hamline University is the latest in a string of several schools requiring the COVID vaccine for the fall semester. The announcement from the school said that there will be the possibility of requesting extensions from the August 15, 2021 deadline, but that students will have 45 days from the deadline to complete the vaccine requirement. However, those “individuals will be required to wear a mask while on campus and participate in surveillance testing every two weeks at their own expense until considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The University of Minnesota campuses will not be requiring the COVID vaccine, saying that vaccination “is a complex and personal issue,” though it is strongly encouraged. Other institutions of higher education in Minnesota like Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, and St. Catherine University will be requiring students and staff to be fully vaccinated.

President Miller said that while almost all of Hamline University staff are already vaccinated, only “68% of students have received at least one vaccine.” According to the Minnesota COVID dashboard, just over half of those aged 18 to 45 have been vaccinated. According to Minnesota COVID data, only 6 COVID cases were fatal for those between the ages of 15 and 24, of the over 100,000 cases of COVID for that age group.

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Minnesota COVID data also reports that only around 2,000 cases of COVID were contracted while within University residencies.

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Christine Weeks, the Communications and Community Relations Specialist for Hamline University, said in a comment to The Minnesota Sun that students can file a conscientious objection and that the form would require “a detailed description of the nature of the conscientious objection and must be notarized prior to submission.” She also said that students who do have a conscientious objection “will be required to wear a mask and may be required to participate in surveillance testing.”

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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to hayley@volente.biz.
Photo “Hamline University” by Hamline University