MISHAWAKA—New federal mandates have been released that federal workers and contractors are required to receive the vaccine. This poses questions about what is required of schools nationwide, as well as locally.
According to the Associated Press, over half of the largest public universities are not requiring vaccinations for students to return to campus this fall. The Associated Press published a story (Sept. 15, 2021) about how colleges are handling vaccine mandates; some being lenient while others expel students who don't comply with their rules. Many schools are holding raffles or other incentives to encourage students to get vaccinated.
In our local area, many universities, according to their respective websites, are requiring students to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption before arriving on campus, including Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend and Goshen College. Exemptions mainly include religious or medical exemptions.
In an email from Julie Beam, Dean of Students, it was explained that Interim President Bellefeuille, Ed. D., M. Ed., B. S.., and some cabinet members met to discuss what Bethel’s next steps are going to be and how this new mandate will affect our campus.
There is a slight delay in between when federal mandates are released, to when smaller campuses like Bethel will implement whatever regulations they decide to put in place, based on what is recommended.
“Our campus leadership is likely to consult with other university coalitions such as the CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges & Universities) and the ICI (Independent Colleges of Indiana) who help us think well about how we operate as a Christian university in our state and in our country,” Beam said.
As far as Bethel’s current status, being in the yellow stage means we are at moderate risk regarding the virus. All students, staff and faculty are required to wear masks indoors on campus and though vaccination is recommended for community members, Bethel is not requiring students or staff to be vaccinated to be on campus.