Community College of Philadelphia to require vaccines, first public college in area to do so

The Community College of Philadelphia on Friday became the first public college in the area to announce that it will require students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to campus.

But the requirement, which will allow waivers for medical and religious reasons, will not be in place for the start of the semester.

Professors and staff have until October 1 and students until January 18.

READ MORE: The Vaccination Debate on University Campuses

“We wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get the full vaccine,” university spokesman Barry Johnson said.

Donald Guy Generals, president of the college, said in a statement that the decision is critical as the number of cases increases and the Delta variant spreads.

“With the most recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia and across the country, requiring COVID-19 vaccines is an important step in keeping the university community safe,” he said. “Studies show that the Delta variant is not only more contagious, but it devastates unvaccinated young African Americans between the ages of 20 and 34. With 72% of the university population identifying themselves as people of color, we must do all in our power. to make sure we take the necessary precautions when we return to campus this fall. Vaccines save lives and it is our responsibility to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and those around us. “

READ MORE: Penn State faculty pushes for mandatory vaccinations

The Pennsylvania state higher education system said its 14 public universities, including West Chester and Cheyney, did not have the authority to require a vaccine and would need legislation. Neither Pennsylvania State University nor Temple University, which are linked to the state, have required the vaccines either.

But the CCP, which is also public, is moving forward.

“We spoke with our legal team and our board of directors and we decided to move forward,” Johnson said.

A number of private colleges in the area, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Villanova, Widener, Cabrini, Neumann, College of New Jersey, and Princeton, also require staff and students to be vaccinated.

The CPC said that 93% of the 470 professors and staff who responded to a survey indicated they were already vaccinated.

Beginning October 1, the CCP will begin regular COVID-19 testing of faculty who have a warrant exemption and students who are not vaccinated, the college said.

After Jan. 18, students who are not fully vaccinated and who do not have an exemption will be excluded from campus and invited to take classes online, the college said.

The college said it would offer advice to those who want to understand their options and noted that Vybe Urgent Care, 1500 Spring Garden St., offers vaccines for free.

The college will also require masks for all students and staff and social distancing.

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