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University of Portland to require COVID-19 vaccination proof for Fall 2021 term

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — The University of Portland announced Tuesday that it would require proof of vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty for fall 2021.

“As we have stated from the start of the pandemic, the health and well-being of UP community members must be our collective priority,” wrote UP President Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., in a memo also signed by University leaders serving on UP’s COVID-19 Steering Committee and Vaccination Task Force.

“We have adopted several measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and, thanks to your extraordinary efforts, the University achieved success in keeping COVID-19 case numbers low. The vaccination requirement we announce today is just the latest step we must take on our journey to keep one another safe and return to the cherished in-person campus community that is so essential to our mission.”

The deadlines to show proof of vaccination are as follows:

Employees: Aug. 1
Students: Sept. 1
Poorman said that the University is working to help those who may have issues obtaining the vaccine.

“The University will work to assist our community members experiencing barriers to receiving vaccinations, including our international students who may not have access to FDA-authorized vaccines prior to their return to The Bluff,” he said.

In February, UP announced the return to in-person classes and normal operations.

“We’re anticipating 80% of our classes that will be in person. In order for you to participate, you will need to be vaccinated,” Michael Lewellen, a spokesperson for UP, said. “This was not an easy decision, this was not a simple decision, but it was a strategic decision for the health and safety of our faculty staff and students.”

There can be exceptions to this requirement. Lewellen said students can request religious or medical exemption forms through their Health and Counseling Center.

“Someone needing a special exemption application could absolutely request that and we’ll look at those on a case-by-case basis. In terms of whether or not an exemption would be granted,” Lewellen said.

Anson Huang is a freshman at the University of Portland and has already gotten his first dose. He doesn’t think the university should require Covid-19 vaccines.

“I think it should be the student’s choice to choose whether they want the vaccine or not,” Huang said.

Other students, like junior Chase Price, said they’d feel safer coming back to campus next year knowing they’re required.

“To be honest, I’m kind of for it. I understand people are weary because it’s a new vaccine, but I completely agree with the school in this instance,” Price said.

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