Rhode Island is the first state in the United States where all institutions of higher education, including public and private organizations, will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students returning to campus this fall, according to a press release from Governor Dan McKee’s office today.
“I am proud that Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education have all stepped up to do what is best to protect their communities and our state,” said Governor Dan McKee in the stateemnt. “We are keeping a close eye on the Delta variant with 73,000 college students, including 48 percent of out-of-state students, headed back to campus in Rhode Island this fall. I commend our colleges and universities for their thoughtful decision and their efforts to keep Rhode Island healthy this school year and beyond.”
All of Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education will require full vaccination before returning to campus this fall. They include Brown University, Bryant University, Community College of Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University, New England Institute of Technology, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and University of Rhode Island.
“Rhode Island will be a safer state because of the actions of the 11 colleges and universities, and I want to thank all of the college presidents and their teams for their proactive and positive responses during this pandemic to ensure that their campuses are open for in-person learning,” said Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island Commissioner of Postsecondary Education in a statement. “Fully reopening all the campuses enormously helps our state’s economic recovery, particularly among the small businesses that serve the college communities.”
Representatives from all Rhode Island colleges and universities met often during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss mitigation strategies and to submit reopening strategies for Fall 2021.
“The entire higher education community in Rhode Island should be commended for stepping up and helping to keep their students, staff, and surrounding communities as safe as possible when it comes to COVID-19 by putting policies in place to get vaccination rates high. Vaccination is key to keeping our communities safe and to having a successful academic year,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH in a statement. “We cannot let our guard down now. The Delta variant is now circulating in parts of the country where many of our students live. The good news is that the vaccines provide protection against this variant. Anyone who has not been vaccinated should get vaccinated today.”