The Maine Community College System will require students attending in-person classes to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy that comes as cases increase in Maine due to the delta variant.
The previous position of the Seven College System was that only students who lived in one of the system’s dormitories should be vaccinated, as well as athletes. The system’s board unanimously approved the policy change on Thursday, system spokesman Noel Gallagher said.
“The latest information on the delta variant clearly indicates that we need to require vaccinations to keep our community safe,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System.
Students who do not provide proof of vaccination will be immediately unsubscribed from all in-person classes. The system will not grant exemptions based on religious or philosophical beliefs, although students who have a documented medical reason why they cannot get the vaccine can go to class and take weekly COVID-19 tests.
The community college system has nearly 16,000 students enrolled in its seven colleges in Maine, including Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and colleges in Auburn, Calais, Fairfield, Presque Isle, South Portland and Wells.
Colleges will continue to require indoor masks for all students, regardless of their immunization status.
While staff and faculty are not currently required to be vaccinated under the policy, system officials are in negotiations with employee bargaining units to extend the requirement to staff members.
The University of Maine system announced last week that it would require all students attending in-person classes to be vaccinated, and the list of colleges and universities in Maine planning to require students to be vaccinated continues to grow. lie down.
Community college students will be required to show administrators proof that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before class begins on August 30. If they have received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, they will need to show proof of a second shot within 30 days.
The policy will not apply to students taking college courses exclusively from a distance. About 45 percent of the courses in the system will be distance learning in the fall. The policy, however, will apply to anyone taking classes at an offsite education center associated with one of the colleges.