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Lawrence University to require students to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 7:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 8:01 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Starting in June, getting the COVID-19 vaccine will be a requirement to attend Lawrence University.

The school is the first in Wisconsin with such a mandate.

Right now half the students have received the vaccine, but the other half will have to do so, as part of the enrollment process after June 13th.

“Scientific evidence has shown us that the vaccine as of right now is the best mode that we have at our disposal to mitigate the spread or a risk of the virus,” said Christyn Abaray, Assistant to the President at Lawrence University.

The university says about 98 percent of its students live on campus, which also played a role in the decision.

However, the vaccine mandate won’t apply to faculty members.

“On advice from our legal counsel we separated the groups, to think about those who are more susceptible, just by being the type of campus we are,” said Abaray, adding “As a residential community, our students are in that population, much more so than our faculty and our staff.”

The school has about 1500 students, and a majority do seem to support the requirement.

“There’s a little bit of pushback on Facebook where we all talk, but like, most people agree that, I think like fifty percent of the campus is vaccinated so most people agree that vaccinating is good and we should all get vaccinated especially if that means we’re keeping the community safe,” said Hannah Epic, a student.

Another student, Gwen Martin said, “I don’t like Zoom classes. My in person class was so much better than being over Zoom even thou we were socially distant. If being vaccinated means I can be back in the classroom, then I’m happy.”

Any student who cannot receive the vaccine, because of medical, religious, or personal convictions can fill out a waiver according to the school’s policy.

University officials are still reviewing whether to keep a mask mandate in place on campus, even after all students are vaccinated.

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