Breaking News
More () »

Maine community colleges end student COVID-19 vaccine requirements

The Maine Community College System announced the rescindment on Wednesday in a news release, saying it would be effective immediately.

MAINE, USA — Community colleges in Maine are ending COVID-19 vaccine requirements for on-campus students.

The Maine Community College System (MCCS) announced the rescindment on Wednesday in a news release, saying it will be effective immediately.

Prior to revoking the vaccine requirements, the community college system's student vaccine protocol required that all on-campus students must be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the release.

MCCS said its president, David Daigler, cited "better access and range of preventative and treatment options for COVID-19, strong vaccination rates in Maine, and improved outcomes for pandemic victims as key factors in his recommendation to the board of trustees" to remove the vaccine requirements.

Daigler reportedly told the board of trustees on Wednesday they should consider ending the on-campus student vaccine requirements, but continue to adopt language that will encourage students to receive the vaccine and boosters, the release said.

On Wednesday, the MCCS Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind the vaccine requirements for on-campus students, according to the release. Additionally, the board of trustees agreed with Daigler's statement, noting they would adopt language "to strongly encourage all learners to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters."

"We have been monitoring COVID-19 benchmarks all along, and this vote is a thoughtfully and carefully considered decision by the board,” Chairwoman Joyce Maker said in the release. “It is the right time to adopt new tools and tactics to best address managing COVID-19 on campus.”

Daigler said in the release Maine's seven community colleges will now shift from requiring vaccination to focusing on wellness education programs to help inform about and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses such as the flu and RSV.

These wellness education programs are expected to include, but will not be limited to, direct messages to students, facilitating access to health care tools and vaccination clinics, print and digital messaging in public spaces, and wellness messages in campus community newsletters, MCCS said Wednesday.

MCCS did, however, say in the release there is one exception to this new protocol: "Students in some programs may be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination due to the requirements at third-party locations, such as student placement sites." This means students who attend off-site locations must follow that site's requirements.

“This was not an easy decision because we don’t want to send a signal that our community doesn’t need to take any COVID-19 preventative measures. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Daigler said in the release. “The health and safety of our community remains our top priority, but requiring students to have the vaccine is no longer a primary way to accomplish that."

For more information about the Maine Community College System, click here.

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

Before You Leave, Check This Out