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Barring legal exemption, Bowdoin College says all students and staff are required to be fully vaccinated come fall semester

"Students who do not have a legitimate medical exemption will not be able to enroll in the fall. There will be no remote study option next year," Bowdoin said.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin College is requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Friday, August 13. This is with the exception of those who qualify for legal exemptions, Bowdoin said.

"There may still be a need for some physical distancing indoors and perhaps the continued use of face coverings in certain situations, but the goal is to return as close as we can to the Bowdoin we knew before the pandemic," Bowdoin President Clayton Rose said in a statement on Friday.

Students will need to submit documentation of vaccinations to the campus health center, and staff must enter their vaccination information and upload a photo of their vaccination card to the college's online database, according to Bowdoin.

According to Bowdoin, there are a number of benefits to this vaccination requirement, including:

  • it is the best approach for the College to take from a larger, public health perspective;
  • it creates a safer, more secure environment for Bowdoin community members by drastically reducing the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks on campus, which facilitates the resumption of a more normal semester;
  • it may mitigate some of the mental health effects of pandemic student isolation;
  • it helps to alleviate anxiety and discomfort for students, faculty, and staff who are fearful of COVID-19;
  • it helps provide clarity about the upcoming academic year;
  • it reduces the foreseeable impact of local community COVID-19 spread; and
  • it provides clear signals to prospective and admitted students and their parents about the importance of safety and health at Bowdoin.

"Students who do not have a legitimate medical exemption will not be able to enroll in the fall. There will be no remote study option next year," Bowdoin officials said.

Bowdoin said there will be two permitted exemptions to its vaccination requirement:

  • Medical: A medical exemption will be made for students, faculty, and staff for whom receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is medically inadvisable (term from the Maine CDC immunization law for college students). In order to qualify for a medical exemption, faculty and staff must provide human resources with medical documentation from their doctor.
  • Religious: Under state law that goes into effect on September 1, 2021, a religious exemption is not available to college students.

"The College is working with on-campus/in-residence students, as well as those students in Maine to assist in obtaining a vaccinations through a partnership with Midcoast Hospital," Bowdoin said. "For those students who are not in Maine, we are unable to assist directly, but can offer guidance through our health center. Additionally, for international students who are unable to obtain the vaccine before coming to campus for the fall, the health center will work to ensure those students obtain the vaccine. Those students may have to quarantine for a period of time until they have been fully vaccinated."

For more on the vaccination requirement for students, CLICK HERE.

For more on the vaccination requirement for faculty and staff, CLICK HERE.