Dear Members of the Immaculata Community,
Since the start of the pandemic, I have stressed my concern for the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students. To ensure a safe return to campus for our IU community, we utilized the tools recommended by the health authorities and followed the recommended virus mitigation measures. It worked well, and I thank you for following the protocols that have protected our campus.
Over the past several weeks, we have been tracking closely the guidance from federal, state, and professional agencies, as well as the decisions of other colleges and universities. Recently, the CDC issued new guidance for higher education that supports fully vaccinated campus communities which are planning to return to regular in-person and on-campus operations. This follows earlier guidance from the American College Health Association which recommends vaccination requirements for campus communities. Several other Catholic, and local/regional institutions have also announced similar vaccination requirements.
As we look ahead to the fall semester, I would like to see a return to a more typical, on-campus experience. Accordingly, the Executive Administration and I have made the decision to require all students, faculty and staff be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to report their status by August 4, 2021.
While the vaccine directive provides a sense of security and is welcome news to some, I appreciate that not everyone will agree with or be happy about this requirement. Although I realize that vaccination is a very personal decision, our decision was made thoughtfully. It is important that we continue to do our part to protect ourselves and those around us. The good news is that we have been collecting data from employees and incoming students regarding their vaccination status, and we are finding that most have indicated that they are already vaccinated. As with other vaccines required to attend Immaculata, exemptions may be requested for medical and religious reasons. Exemption forms must be completed for those requesting this exemption.
I recognize how challenging the past year has been for everyone, and I thank you for your collective efforts, including this latest request, to keep our community safe, and I thank you in advance for your understanding, support, and observance of this request. General Vaccine FAQ’s, that pertain to our campus protocols, are provided on our IU website. Governor Wolf is also expected to make an announcement by June 28 regarding the mask wearing mandate in Pennsylvania. We will follow the guidance of this mandate for campus protocols.
I look forward to seeing you on campus.