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Thomas College will not require COVID-19 vaccine for students, staff this fall

Those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear face coverings indoors and will be required to participate in a campus COVID-19 testing program

WATERVILLE, Maine — A private college in Maine announced there will be no COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, faculty, or staff this fall.

In an announcement Wednesday, Thomas College President Laurie Lachance said the college will not mandate the vaccine for the 2021 fall semester, but still strongly encouraged Thomas community members to get the vaccine “without delay in order to enjoy campus life as fully as possible.”

Those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear face coverings indoors and will be required to participate in a campus COVID-19 testing program—measures those vaccinated against COVID-19 will be exempt from.

Thomas classrooms will return to normal capacity, while dining areas will remain “de-densified,” according to the college.

“The health and safety of the entire Thomas College community has guided our decision-making process throughout the many long months of this pandemic. Mitigation measures like masking and testing kept our community safe and in-person during the worst of the pandemic last winter,” Lachance said in a statement. “I will forever feel pride that we showed everyone what was possible when a community unites behind a cause larger than any one member.”

Bates College and the University of New England, however, will require vaccinations for all on-campus students and staff this fall, while the University of Maine System is holding off on mandating vaccination until the vaccines are given full FDA approval.