Loyola University Maryland will require its students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination before the start of the 2021-22 school year in order to attend in-person classes.
In a letter sent to the campus community Monday, university president Rev. Brian F. Linnane announced that undergraduate and graduate students must provide proof of having received their final dose of the vaccine by Aug. 1. Students can request exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
Students attending in-person classes, activities, jobs or other programs during the summer months are expected to be vaccinated or receive confirmation of a medial or religious exemption by July 1. Those who do not meet the deadline will not be allowed to participate in such in-person activities.
“With a vaccinated student population on campus next fall, we will be able to offer our students a richer in-person experience, reduce testing, carve out less space for isolation and quarantine, and let students interact more freely,” Linnane said in the letter.
He added the vaccinations also will help protect the community surrounding campus.
The university has not required vaccinations for faculty, staff or administrators, but officials said they may require it in the future. More than 50% have reported that they are vaccinated, Linnane said in the letter.
The president said virus transmission was most commonly documented in students living in congregate spaces both on and off campus.
Linnane and his cabinet members made the decision to require vaccinations after consulting with medical experts. Linnane also highlighted in his letter that many of Loyola’s peer colleges and universities are adopting similar requirements.
The University System of Maryland’s 12 schools, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University announced last month that they will require students, faculty and staff on campuses this fall to be vaccinated.
Loyola is planning a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic for students, faculty, staff and administrators on the Evergreen campus for May 25 and June 15 to receive the first and second dose, respectively.
The university also will mandate the flu shot for all residential students later in the fall when the annual vaccine becomes available, also allowing for medical and religious exemptions. Officials said they would monitor the need for a COVID-19 vaccine booster.