On July 19, Meredith College’s Executive Leadership Team sent out an email to all students and staff stating that COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for the upcoming semester but are strongly encouraged. Another email on July 29 stated that “Meredith will keep indoor face-covering requirements in effect until further notice” and will also implement other safety measures such as keeping room capacities smaller than normal and distancing students and faculty. The same email also announced that “any students, faculty or staff who are unvaccinated and who have not been on campus regularly this summer will need to submit a negative PCR test one to three days in advance of coming to campus after August 8.” Additional updates to the Community Standards will be released Aug. 2, 2021.
There will also be vaccine incentives to encourage more individuals to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Beginning Aug. 1, Meredith will “hold a series of four weekly drawings for students and employees who have submitted proof of vaccination [to the vaccination portal]. For students, the weekly prizes will be a $500 tuition credit and $500 in cash. For employees, the prizes will be a $1,000 pre-tax bonus.”
Many students, like Stella Bowers, ‘23, and Holly Obermiller, ‘24, feel that in order to keep everyone safe, vaccines should be required. Both individuals also said they believe that once everyone on campus receives the vaccine, things can return to normal. Obermiller said that she wants “to have a full college experience this semester, especially since last year had so many unexpected challenges.”
One student who wished to remain anonymous had a different view on the new policies. They said that “individuals should be able to choose if they want to get the vaccine, as well as if they want to wear a mask.” They added, “As long as you are protected, you have no right to make rules for others. People should do whatever they choose, and it is not right to offer incentives that only benefit some of the campus population.”
With the increased prevalence of the Delta variant, another student who wished to be anonymous said they have a strong fear that loosening all the restrictions too quickly could lead to an uptick in the amount of cases being reported, which could put the school in a similar position as last year with more restrictions
The Executive Leadership Team said that all decisions regarding COVID-19 are subject to change depending on vaccination rates, government regulations and number of state and local COVID-19 cases.
By Rania Abushakra, Staff Writer