Cal Poly will require vaccinations for all who plan to return to campus in fall 2021 if the FDA approves a COVID-19 vaccine. While the return to in-person instruction remains highly anticipated, the campus community holds mixed opinions on the importance of requiring vaccines.
Because the three vaccines currently being distributed in the United States have only been authorized for emergency use, requiring vaccination is dependent on one or more of these vaccines receiving full approval from the FDA.
While many students are looking forward to life beyond the pandemic, some are still looking for reassurances of safety upon a return to campus life.
“The numbers don’t lie,” software engineering senior Simon Ibssa said. “There’s already been a lot of comfort in seeing case numbers go down and such high efficacy rates on the vaccines.”
Like other vaccinations required by Cal Poly, the policy for COVID-19 vaccination would likely allow for medical and religious exemptions.
“I think it’s great that Cal Poly is looking to require the vaccine,” liberal studies junior Elana Gladish said. “You’re taking a risk when you go back to in-person activities … so knowing that most people are vaccinated would definitely give me peace of mind.”
Biology professor Jean Davidson said she supports the university’s efforts to get students vaccinated.
“There are currently already many required vaccinations for Cal Poly — the concept of requiring vaccination is not new — but we need to be aware that people have concerns and we need to clearly share all the information possible so people feel confident in their decisions,” Davidson said.
While having the majority of the student body vaccinated against the disease would be a major safeguard against potential outbreaks, it is likely that masking and distancing practices will still be in place when students return to class in the fall.
“I’m looking forward to any in-person classes that I get the chance to take even though wearing masks inside for hours on end during class wouldn’t be ideal,” Gladish said.
However, after nearly four full quarters of Zoom classes, there remains a level of frustration with the slow return to normal.
“It is a risk but at some point you have to take the band-aid off and try to reintegrate society back to what it was like pre-pandemic,” Ibssa said.