Inside Higher Ed
by Elizabeth Redden
March 26, 2021
New Jersey university may be the first to require COVID vaccination. In mandating the vaccines, which are approved under the FDA's emergency authorization process, colleges are breaking new ground.
Rutgers University announced Thursday that it would require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus next fall.
The public institution in New Jersey may be the first or at least among the first universities to take the step of mandating students receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Three different vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use, but not yet fully approved, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In making the decision on whether to require vaccines approved through the emergency use authorization (EUA) process, colleges are treading untested legal ground.
Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers, said the vaccine requirement had been thoroughly reviewed by the university’s Office of General Counsel.
He said the university, which currently is conducting about 97 percent of its classes online, wants to find a way to bring students back to campus safely.
“I’m looking out the window now and my campus is just empty,” Calcado said. “There’s no one even walking the streets. We need to use every tool available to us to be able to bring back the college experience for our students. They deserve the college experience.”