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College of the Atlantic plans to require all on-campus students and staff to be vaccinated

“Having a fully vaccinated community should allow us to teach, learn, and practice human ecology as it is meant to be done,” COA President Darron Collins said.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — The College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor said Monday it plans to require students, staff, and faculty who will be working and studying on campus in the fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

School officials said in a release that there are broad benefits of a vaccinated campus, including holding gatherings, sharing meals, resuming regular transportation protocols, and a return to a more normal academic setting.

“Having a fully vaccinated community should allow us to teach, learn, and practice human ecology as it is meant to be done,” COA President Darron Collins said.

The school’s COVID-19 Response Team, which includes members of COA’s senior leadership team and others, understands that there could be very rare cases where taking the vaccine is not medically advised, Collins said, and will work with anyone who falls into that category. According to Collins, they are also making provisions for students who may have trouble getting vaccinated because of their geographic location to receive vaccines when they arrive at campus in late summer. There will be some degree of remote class offerings for students who are not vaccinated, Collins said.

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

COA is encouraging students who have concerns about the vaccine to contact their personal healthcare providers or get in touch with a local provider through the college. They are also scheduling an open information session in the coming weeks, Collins said.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine also has emergency use authorization, but distribution is currently paused in Maine while the U.S. CDC investigates reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

RELATED: University of Maine System exempts fully vaccinated students from quarantine

“Once these vaccines are granted full approval, schools and employers can legally require their use, and we believe it is our ethical duty to do so, in order to provide for the greatest good for the greatest number of our community,” Collins said.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick is similarly 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.