Colleges and universities in the region are strongly encouraging students to get vaccinated before classes start this fall.
In a message to the college community earlier this month, Monmouth College President Clarence Wyatt urged all students to get vaccinated before returning to campus.
“It’s easy, it’s free and it’s one of the best things you can do for your family, for your classmates and friends, for the campus and for yourself,” Wyatt said. .
Monmouth College students who are vaccinated will be exempt from wearing masks and participating in COVID-19 mitigation tests.
The college will organize a vaccination clinic shortly after the start of the fall semester for those who have not yet been vaccinated.
“In addition to supporting campus efforts to fight the virus, being vaccinated also helps the Monmouth-Warren County community stay vigilant in their fight against the coronavirus,” Wyatt said.
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According to the college, 77% of faculty and staff were fully immunized in Monmouth as of July 7.
The college will also be keeping a close watch on the Delta variant, Wyatt said.
At Carl Sandburg College, where students do not live on campus, there is no official vaccine policy or mandate, said Brittany Grimes, director of marketing and public relations.
But the college is sharing information regarding local immunization clinics available to employees and students.
“We also provide links to the Illinois Department of Public Health site for vaccine registration and distribution sites,” Grimes said.
Western Illinois University expects members of the campus community to get vaccinated before the start of the fall semester, which begins August 23, saying the vaccinations will mitigate the risk of coronaviruses and variants.
“A high vaccination rate for our Macomb and Moline campuses will allow us to return to our normal operating conditions at a much faster rate,” WIU President Guiyou Huang said in a statement to the university community. “For those who have already been vaccinated, or are planning to do so in the near future, thank you for taking steps to protect yourself and others.”
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The university will operate under an honor system, with the hope that those who are not vaccinated will continue to wear masks and follow distancing guidelines, and also participate in required COVID-19 testing clinics.
WIU faculty, staff and students may opt out of testing clinics if proof of vaccination is provided.
A spokesperson for Knox College said this spring that the college plans to require that students be vaccinated, except for religious or philosophical objections.
Elsewhere in the state, there are mandates for vaccines at colleges and universities.
The University of Illinois system will require students at its three campuses, including Springfield, to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they plan to be on campus for the fall semester.
The University of Illinois became the first public university in the state to announce such a requirement last month.
Northwestern University, DePaul University and Loyola University all announced earlier in the spring that students should be vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.
Illinois State University was among the schools that did not require students to be vaccinated, but strongly encouraged it.
The requirement, said University of Illinois system president Tim Killeen, is “consistent with our own scientific modeling of the risks associated with the spread of the virus and its variants. It is also consistent with the goals of the Illinois Department of Public Health “.