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Community college requires vaccination

From MCCS

AUGUSTA, ME – Starting this fall, the Maine Community College Sys­tem (MCCS) will require all students attending class­es in person to be vaccinat­ed against COVID-19, due to the recent surge in cases attributed to the delta vari­ant.

The MCCS Board of Trustees unanimously ap­proved the updated COVID safety protocol lasts week.

“The safety of our faculty, staff and students has been our top priority throughout the pandem­ic. The latest information about the delta variant makes it clear we must re­quire vaccinations to keep our community as safe as possible,” MCCS President David Daigler said.

The new protocol, which will be in effect for the 2021-22 academic year, applies to any student tak­ing classes or training at any MCCS facility, includ­ing off-campus learning fa­cilities.

Students must show proof that they have re­ceived at least one dose of a vaccine prior to attending the first day of their in-per­son classes. Students who have only had their first shot when classes begin must provide proof of the second shot no later than 30 days from the date of their first in-person class. The first fall semester classes start on August 30.

System officials are beginning discussions with representatives of employ­ee bargaining units in hopes of adopting a similar vacci­nation policy for staff and faculty.

Precision Machining Technology Instructor Dean Duplessis said he personal­ly supports a vaccine man­date for students, and for MCCS faculty and staff.

“It’s about workplace safety and the safety of our entire community,” said Duplessis, who teaches at Northern Maine Commu­nity College. “My own per­sonal belief is that it works both ways: If students are going to be required to vaccinate in order to attend classes, then we should fol­low suit and have the same requirements. We should do this together.”

Currently, masks are required indoors at Maine’s community colleges. The mask mandate will remain in place, even for vaccinat­ed students.

MCCS officials will continue to assess the situ­ation and review the mask­ing mandate. Students who are fully remote and will not be entering campus buildings for any purpose will not need proof of vac­cination. Approximately 45 percent of courses are being delivered remotely this fall.

MCCS will grant exemp­tions for individuals who cannot be vaccinated for documented medical rea­sons.

Previously, vaccinations were only required for MCCS athletes and students living in residence halls.

The full text of the updat­ed protocol can be found at http://bitly.ws/g4ox, and on the MCCS COVID infor­mation page.

Maine’s seven community colleges have the lowest tuition and fees in New En­gland and serve more than 29,000 individuals a year through degree programs, customized training, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

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