Massachusetts Community Colleges Announce Vaccine Requirement
“During the last eighteen months, the Massachusetts Community Colleges have prioritized the health and safety of our communities while also recognizing that many of our students have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic” the presidents said in a statement shared with their campuses. “While a significant number of students, faculty, and staff are already vaccinated or are in the process of becoming vaccinated, the fifteen colleges are seeking to increase the health and safety of the learning and working environment in light of the ongoing public health concerns and current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Massachusetts Community Colleges are committed to ensuring vaccination status is not a barrier to students and will continue offering a range of virtual learning opportunities and services.”
The announcement comes amid a rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19 across the Commonwealth, the increased access and availability of vaccines, the Food & Drug Administration’s full and pending approval of available vaccines, and CDC guidance that the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be extremely safe and highly effective at preventing infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death, the requirement is aimed at ensuring the safest learning and working environment possible for the more than 135,000 students served by the community colleges each year.
Students who seek to register for courses that do not include any in-person component, and who do not plan to come on campus for any reason for the Spring 2022 semester, will not be required to provide documentation of vaccination. All employees will be required to be vaccinated.
Northern Essex will hold pop-up vaccination clinics on both the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.
“We believe that the more people who are vaccinated, the safer we will be as a community,” said Lane Glenn, NECC president. “That’s why we are doing everything possible to make the vaccines available to our faculty, staff, and students, and the communities we serve.”
The community colleges remain the most affordable higher education opportunity in Massachusetts and also provide flexible options for students. They also serve as critical local and statewide economic engines, training and educating the workforce through credit and noncredit offerings. At a time when many workers will have to be retrained, re-skilled, and further educated to find their way back into this new economy, the community colleges offer training in needed healthcare professions, IT and cyber security jobs, and first responder roles like EMTs, firefighters, and police officers, among others.
The 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges offer unique opportunities for the local communities they are a part of. Each college provides open access to high quality and affordable academic programs. The Massachusetts Community Colleges are Bunker Hill, Bristol, Cape Cod, Berkshire, Greenfield, Holyoke, Massasoit, MassBay, Middlesex, Mount Wachusett, North Shore, Northern Essex, Quinsigamond, Roxbury, and Springfield Technical.