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Roger Williams University to require students to get COVID vaccine for fall semester

Roger Williams University. (WJAR)
Roger Williams University. (WJAR)
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Roger Williams University said Thursday if students want to be on campus this fall, they will need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

School officials told NBC 10 News this comes as the university plans for fully in-person experience for the fall semester.

Roger Williams University said it's also urging faculty and staff to get their shots. There are some medical and religious exceptions, said the school.

In a statement to NBC 10, the institution said they have been the first among local universities to "act swiftly in response to COVID" by deciding not to bring students back from spring break during the height of the pandemic, switching to remote learning, and testing twice a week.

Therefore, Roger Williams University said, "It is right to be among the first to require the vaccine for our students."

The school added that while they "may be one of the first to require students to get vaccinated," they "won't be the only ones."

Students who spoke with NBC 10 Thursday said they were OK with the requirement and think it will help students feel more comfortable when they return.

"Although we'll still have our mask and have guidelines, it will be a lot more calm and relaxed and you'll be able to see those people you wouldn't have seen this past year," said Adam Zerman, who's a junior at RWU.

Zerman said many students anticipated this announcement as the university discussed plans for a return in the fall.

"Most of my classmates don't have a huge opinion on it. Most people I know want to get the vaccine when they can," explained Zerman.

RWU plans to keep face coverings, social distancing, and testing programs in place.

State Rep. Susan Donovan said she believes it will help make the community safer overall.

"It's a community health issue," explained Donovan. "It's the elderly and the older people who are most at risk and they have to go to the grocery stores, the kids have to go to the grocery stores."

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