By. Natalie Faas, News Editor
PC: Kyra Laurie
In an email sent out to the Canisius community, President John Hurley has announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the spring 2022 semester.
Due to the rise of the Delta variant and a decline in vaccination rates campus-wide, the college has chosen to require the vaccine for both part-time and full-time faculty, staff and students. In the email, Hurley said: “The situation has changed rather dramatically in the past several weeks. Breakthrough cases are increasing as the Delta variant continues to be a threat.”
The mandate for faculty and staff requires proof of full vaccination status to be reported by Nov. 22, 2021. For students, this will be required by Jan. 18, 2022, the first day of the spring 2022 semester. During an interview with President Hurley on Thursday, he said that the administration made the decision to wait until the beginning of the spring semester due to concerns from parents about “changing the rule” halfway through the semester after students had already paid their tuition.
However, Hurley is still expecting to see some negative responses to the action. “The one consequence that we're concerned about is, people who feel so strongly about the issue that they would actually leave the college over this,” Hurley said. “I don't want to see that happen. It's one of the reasons that we hesitated to do so.”
Due to federal standards, medical and religious exemptions will be considered. However, those who receive an exemption will still be required to test weekly and submit their results to the college. Additional information on this will be provided in the future. President Hurley said that the exemption system will look almost identical to the one used earlier this school year for athletes exempted from vaccination.
Alluding to the future of masking, the president is unsure of the future due to the “constantly changing” situation; however, Hurley said that relaxed masking could be a “positive incentive.”
Hurley’s Friday email concluded: “It is clear this is a vital step for our community if we wish to maintain a rich and fulfilling on-campus experience. I hope that we can all cooperate in achieving this goal.”