There is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel! Many colleges and universities are gearing up to reopen their campuses to students and faculty alike. While we are not out of the proverbial woods yet, EesySoft has support for whatever your re-opening strategy may be.
Colleges and universities are grappling with the issue of whether or not to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees (Vernick, Whitman, & Miller, 2021). This blog highlights potential avenues for supporting your campus during this transitionary period regardless of vaccination requirements.
Campus Reopening and Training
Changes to campus policy seem to be inevitable. In order to get information out to a wide audience, EesySofter Cole has designed a campus reopening campaign. Use this message as a template to introduce your own guidelines and expectations for the new semester.
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The list of colleges and universities requiring COVID-19 vaccines is growing (Inside Higher Ed., 2021). The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported a consistent uptick in the number of colleges announcing vaccination requirements for students and employees (Thomason and O’Leary, 2021). At the time of publication, over 400 campuses have announced a vaccine requirement.
Whether your university is just announcing a vaccination requirement or are trying to get the remaining students to submit their vaccination status, EesySoft can help.
The American College Health Association (2021) recommends that all on-campus college and university students receive a vaccination, with exemptions for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons.
But with this comes the question of how to show proof of health status without compromising privacy (Vernick, Whitman, & Miller, 2021). At the moment, there is no database to confirm if a person has been vaccinated. While many institutions have not announced how they will prove vaccination status, some are requiring students to upload their vaccination documentation (or exemption documentation) to a student portal or a digital application.
Vaccines not required but encouraged
Many other institutions are not mandating vaccinations but may be limiting potential contact and exposure with individuals that have not been vaccinated. Some institutions are limited by their state government's legislature to prevent required proof of vaccination (Vernick, Whitman, & Miller, 2021). Instead, these institutions can provide resources to students and employees to mitigate the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 testing centers are not new to many campuses. However, the ability to skip testing may be. Several colleges and universities have announced that students who have received will not need to participate in mandatory testing (Inside Higher Ed., 2021)
Vaccine Status App
One of the most popular containment strategies among universities has been to adopt a smartphone app that helps students with everything from vaccinations to potential exposures. These apps are being used to show proof of vaccination in order to enter campus events (University of Rochester, 2021).
EesySoft can help create targeted messaging to remind new students to download the app for an easier transition to campus life!
In addition to testing policy, mask requirements are rapidly shifting as the CDC announced that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to be masked indoors. Some schools have announced that fully vaccinated students and employees will not be required to wear a mask while in class. Those who have not been vaccinated would be “strongly encouraged” to wear their masks indoors (Chronicle of Higher Ed., 2021)
Continued Online Education
For many students, the option of online education has opened a plethora of opportunities that they would not have otherwise had at a brick and mortar institution. Institutions have rapidly adapted to accommodate students through different modalities. Many universities are offering a variety of hybrid courses, blending synchronous and asynchronous delivery.
The goal of this campaign is to help students and faculty alike with their registration process by defining the types of classes offered.
EesySoft is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate over vaccination requirements is far from over. As your plans solidify for the Fall 2021 semester, we are happy to help you every step of the way. Please contact your customer success manager if you have any questions or requests!
American College Health Association. (2021). COVID 19 resources. https://www.acha.org/COVID-19
Inside Higher Ed. (2021, May 24). Live updates: Latest news on coronavirus and higher education. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/05/24/live-updates-latest-news-coronavirus-and-higher-education
Thomason, A. and O’Leary, B. (2021, May 21). Here’s a list of colleges that will require students or employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. https://www-chronicle-com.usd.idm.oclc.org/blogs/live-coronavirus-updates/heres-a-list-of-colleges-that-will-require-students-to-be-vaccinated-against-covid-19
University of Rochester. (2021, May 12). New university app lets students easily show their COVID 19 vaccination status. https://www.rochester.edu/coronavirus-update/new-university-app-lets-students-easily-show-their-covid-19-vaccination-status/
Vernick, M., Whitman, M., & Miller, M. (2021, May 25). The mandate maze. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2021/05/25/advice-legal-issues-related-vaccine-mandates-opinion
About the Author
Dr. Annelise Ewing Goodman is a Customer Success Manager at EesySoft. Annelise has a Bachelors and Masters of Science Degree in Communication Studies and a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration. She has worked in higher education as an instructor and an administrator.