• Natalie Faas

Faas: Canisius not mandating vaccine puts us all at risk

By:Natalie Faas, News Editor

Photo credit: Tessa Pszonak

The coronavirus pandemic that we have been enduring for over a year has been one of the most monumental events in my lifetime. It is something that has touched me personally and, for lack of a better word, tipped my life upside down. Now, that seems dramatic, yes, and some people have lost way more than I have. I am fortunate enough to have not lost any loved ones, and for that I am eternally grateful.

However, I am a member of the class of 2020 (collective sigh). I lost my senior musical, prom, regular graduation and honestly the freshman year experience. There is light at the end of the tunnel though: I and many of my peers have chosen to get the lifesaving vaccine in order to protect ourselves and each other from this deadly disease.

Sadly, many of my peers have chosen to not get the vaccine. My frustration is not with those who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical conditions. It is with those who have politicized this public health crisis. They have turned to selfish reasons, ridiculous ideas and outlandish conspiracies. This is horribly disappointing.

Many colleges and universities around the nation have chosen to mandate the vaccine in order for students to return to full-time, in-person learning. Governor Andrew Cuomo has even said that if the vaccine is FDA approved for non-emergency use, all students in the SUNY and CUNY systems will be required to be vaccinated. This has caused quite a bit of backlash from the students and parents alike; however, it is what the college is doing to protect not only their students, but the entire campus community.

This morning, Canisius College released a statement that while the vaccine is “highly encouraged,” the College will not be mandating it for residents or commuters for the fall 2021 semester.

Resident students will be required to present either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test before returning to campus. Students in the Physicians Assistant Program, as well as close contact programs like campus ministry immersion trips and the pre-med mission trip, will have vaccination requirements. The MAAC has issued a vaccine mandate for all student athletes. Canisius voted to oppose this.

I fully acknowledge that the danger is not to me. I am currently fully protected against the virus due to my vaccination status. My worry is for those who are not vaccinated. While I am frustrated that they have chosen not to get the vaccine, it does not mean that I don’t care about them —my peers are still a part of our community. They feel like brothers and sisters, and to lose any of them to COVID would be devastating.

The fact of the matter is, the Delta Variant is coming. The longer people wait to get vaccinated, the faster it is going to spread, and more variants could continue to develop.

With all aspects of college returning to normal, including no masking mandates, I am nervous. I am afraid that our cases will be up, and we may be required to shut down. I worry that if my unvaccinated peers unknowingly bring the virus into the classroom, it could be transmitted to someone with immunocompromised loved ones or to children ((or even to those of us who are vaccinated)).

Unvaccinated people pose a risk towards those who cannot get vaccinated as well as those of us who are vaccinated, and THAT is why it's so frustrating that Canisius won't require it and therefore protect all of us.

Remember that being vaccinated means if you ARE exposed to COVID, your body is better at fighting it off: it doesn't make us immune to getting and spreading it.

I wish my unvaccinated peers were more willing to take off their rose colored glasses and see the truth. They are now a threat to the health and safety of our campus community.

I wouldn’t blame my professors if they decide to require masks in the classroom or choose to return to a hybrid format due to this new information.

We are not out of the woods yet, and it’s scary that so many people think we are.

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