Yale University will require COVID-19 vaccinations

Bass Tower and the surrounding area at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. (Photo by Dan Renzetti/courtesy of Yale University)

Yale University has joined a growing list of colleges and universities that will require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning in the fall.

University President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel made the announcement Monday in an email to the Yale community, urging students to get inoculated as soon as possible.

"Although the course of the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming months remains uncertain, vaccination is the strongest tool for preventing transmission of the virus," the officials wrote. "There is abundant evidence of the vaccines' effectiveness and growing confidence that vaccines will be widely available by early summer."

Salovey and Strobel said there will be reasonable exceptions made for religious or medical reasons. They said the school will vaccinate any students in the fall who could not get access to the vaccine this summer. The school announced Friday that Yale Health had secured enough doses for all students to receive Pfizer vaccines over the coming weeks. 

The school still is evaluating whether to impose a similar mandate on faculty and staff, with a decision expected in June.

Columbia University will require COVID-19 vaccinations

Yale's announcement came the same day that leaders from several other colleges and universities across Connecticut joined Gov. Ned Lamont to announce they expect most classes and other activities, including watching sports, will go back to being in-person in the fall. 

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The leaders said they expect that some protocols, including wearing masks while indoors and staying 3 feet (1 meter) apart in classrooms, will remain in effect. 

"We're going to reduce the restrictions by a longshot, (but) of course we're the following state guidelines in the fall," Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian said. 

Those leaders said they would be encouraging students, staff, and faculty to get vaccinated and will host vaccination clinics, but do not plan to mandate the shots.

Lamont said he approved of that approach.

"We'll find out later in the year if that's enough and we'll be able to make some determinations later," he said.