CU Anschutz, Community College of Aurora take different tracks on student vaccinations this fall

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AURORA | The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by the start of fall semester, while the Community College of Aurora will not.

The two systems the colleges are a part of — the University of Colorado and the Colorado Community College System, respectively — have taken different stances on vaccine requirements.

In a statement, CU President Mark Kennedy said that the system decided to require vaccines after consulting local health departments and CU medical experts.

“This decision is good for public health, not only because it will lower rates of infection on our campuses, but also in the communities they call home,” Kennedy said. “It will also allow students, faculty and staff to benefit from the on-campus experience that is critical to academic success and personal growth.”

CU Anschutz’s website asks that students be fully vaccinated by September 1. Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed, and those who qualify for an exemption will be required to wear masks, physical distance and may be subject to COVID-19 testing. It does not specify how proof of vaccination will be determined, but said that more information will be forthcoming over the summer.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Community College System announced its decision not to mandate vaccines for students or faculty, though it “strongly encourages” everyone to get vaccinated.

“As community college students are more likely to work part-time or full-time jobs, be parents, and have limited resources, CCCS seeks to remove barriers to educational pursuits and serve all learners as student-ready institutions,” a news release said. “Online learning is still heavily used across CCCS colleges as a way to support social distancing protocols. For those who do attend class on campus, community college classes are small, typically about 20 students, and follow safety recommendations by health authorities.”

College residence halls or athletic teams may require students to be vaccinated. CCA has no on-campus housing so will not be affected.

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