Roger Williams to require vaccinations for students in fall
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Roger Williams University in Rhode Island will require all students to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus next fall if they want to step on campus.
The private college is also urging faculty and staff to get their shots, WJAR-TV reported Thursday.
The school with campuses in Bristol and Providence in a statement to the station said it was among the first universities in the area to move to remote learning last spring at the outset of the pandemic and therefore “It is right to be among the first to require the vaccine for our students.”
There will be medical and religious exceptions, the school said.
The school plans a return to full in-person learning in the fall semester with face coverings, social distancing, and testing programs remaining in place.
Roger Williams junior Adam Zerman said he was on board with the requirement and many students anticipated it.
“Most of my classmates don’t have a huge opinion on it. Most people I know want to get the vaccine when they can,” the junior said.
The school has about 6,500 students.
Rhode Island health officials on Friday reported more than 400 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and six more virus-related deaths.
There have now been more than 138,000 known cases and 2,630 deaths in the state.
Rhode Island has the fourth highest per capita death rate in the country at 248.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins statistics.
Of the new cases, 314 were people who tested positive for the first time on Thursday and the remainder were people who tested positive for the first time on previous days.
There were 136 patients in the hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 131 the previous day. Twenty-nine people were admitted on Wednesday, the most in one day since mid-February.
Nearly 356,000 people in the state have received at least one dose of a vaccine and almost 238,000 have been fully vaccinated. The state is scheduled to make an additional 12,000 appointments available Friday.