With the spring semester coming to an end and Covid-19 vaccines becoming widely available, many college students have one thing on their mind: how the upcoming 2021-2022 school year is going to play out.
At a time where the vaccines are becoming more accessible, there seems to be more pressure than ever be fully vaccinated. More and more colleges around the US, including Brown University, Duke University, Rutgers University, and Cornell university are making this a requirement. Some colleges such as Cleveland State University are making it a requirement only for on-campus residents, while some aren’t but instead have incentives: if you’re vaccinated then you don’t need to follow the mask mandate.
While approximately 1,118,905 vaccine doses have been administered in Hawaiʻi, UH Mānoa has now allowed for students to receive the vaccine. In a recent email to students they state “UH strongly encourages everyone in our campus communities to get vaccinated… Some people have conditions that do not allow them to get the vaccine, but all of us who can receive the vaccine should do our part to advance a safer learning and working environment across UH.”
UH recently updated members of the community about requiring the vaccine, saying they haven’t just made a decision yet- even with four months left till the next semester. President David Lassner said “if we move in that direction, who would it apply to? For example: maybe just for students who live in residence halls, maybe student-athletes, or all students, all faculty and staff.” Since the dorms at UH Mānoa opened at 50%, multiple outbreaks have occurred, one of the latest involving a cluster of 11 students and a dozen close contacts. While students are desperate to get back to normalcy, the safety concerns must be considered.
As a student about to embark on my final year of undergrad, I’m beginning to think about what this new normal will look like. Socials, the dorms, classes. While I’m grateful for my health, I can’t help but wish for some sort of normalcy for the upcoming school year. The vaccine mandate will in turn make campus safer, but as of now its up to the community to look after one another.