Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations not confirmed by Tulane

Domenic Mesa, News Editor

Many universities have announced they will be mandating COVID-19 vaccinations this upcoming fall as a safety measure for returning students. Cornell University, Duke University and Notre Dame are among the many universities that have already come forward with this change. 

Tulane University has not made an official decision that would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for returning students in the fall. Although there has been no official decision, the administration continues to encourage students to get vaccinated and report their vaccination to Campus Health.

“While they are currently voluntary, we highly encourage all students, faculty and staff to schedule their vaccine if they have not yet done so,” Mike Strecker, executive director of public relations, said. “Interest and uptake appears to be high among Tulane students based on how quickly slots are filled at the special ‘after hours’ vaccine events we host for students. At one such recent event, 300 slots were filled in a half hour. Currently, we don’t have an accurate count on the number of students who have been inoculated against COVID-19, since many have received vaccinations at sites outside of the Tulane system. We are asking all students, faculty and staff who have received vaccines from outside of Tulane’s system to update their records through the Campus Health Portal,” 

According to the COVID-19 Dashboard, there are only four active cases of COVID-19 at Tulane as of Wednesday night. No employees are testing positive at this time. This information is similar to the decreasing rates of positivity in the surrounding community. As of April 15, 2021, New Orleans has a positivity rate of 0.9%. 

Increased concerns of COVID-19 vaccination requirements have sparked discussion by many undergraduate students.

I think if those who are able and willing to receive the vaccine do, it will make campus feel like a safer environment for all,” sophomore Julia Bogart said. “The less we have to worry about covid cases resurging, the more we can focus on gaining a sense of normalcy.” 

Another student said that Tulane should require COVID-19 vaccinations for returning students in the fall.

“I think Tulane requiring all students to be covid vaccinated before coming back to campus will provide for the health and safety of both Tulane students, faculty, and staff, and the greater New Orleans community,” sophomore Francie Benjamin said. “The vaccine is becoming increasingly popular and more widely available, which means students should have no difficulty getting it before returning to school in the fall.” 
The administration continues to send out emails reminding students to report their vaccinations on the Campus Health Portal. Those who send in their vaccination records will be eligible for a prize raffle for the upcoming semester.