MBU Will Require COVID-19 Vaccine

Please see the below message sent to students, parents, faculty, and staff from the MBU Pandemic Team outlining the university’s new COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Dear Mary Baldwin family:

After an extraordinary 2020-21 academic year, the Pandemic Team has turned its focus to preparations for the new academic year starting this fall, with the safety of students, faculty, and staff our highest priority.

One of the first critical policy decisions for the fall is that all students 12 and older* attending classes on the Staunton or Fishersville campuses and all faculty and staff will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus. (*On May 24, MBU amended this policy from 16 and older to include students 12 and older, per CDC guidance.)

Since its rollout, the vaccine has been proven safe and effective at protecting against the deadly and highly contagious COVID-19 virus. Further, it is now widely available throughout the country at no cost.

A fully vaccinated campus community provides the greatest chance of returning to more normal operations and delivering the richest possible student experience while ensuring the safety of the entire MBU family. While masking and distancing will continue to be necessary to some degree, an immunized population will provide greater flexibility for those measures. In addition to your personal protection from the virus, other benefits of the vaccine policy are likely to include:

    • Significantly reduced need for testing
    • Significantly reduced need for quarantining and isolating
    • Fewer overall disruptions to campus operations and academic instruction 
    • The ability to host and attend more in-person events, meetings, and social gatherings
    • Increased capacity in campus facilities such as classrooms, computer labs, and the Center for Student Success
    • The ability to dine in dining facilities
    • Fewer restrictions on athletic practices and competitions 

For these reasons and more, MBU is joining the considerable ranks of colleges and universities across that country that are requiring COVID vaccines for fall 2021.

Medical and religious exemptions from this policy will be available for those who qualify – please read FAQ’s below for details. 

While the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe and effective, we understand that some may still have lingering questions about its safety and/or efficacy. We encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider. We also encourage you to consult the below resources for the latest credible information about the vaccine.

In the coming weeks, we will update you on the process for reporting your vaccination status to the university so that you will be cleared to return for the fall. We will also share additional details on what you can expect in terms of campus operations and safety measures for the 2021-22 academic year. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to seek a vaccine at your earliest opportunity – see FAQ’s below for details on how you can find a vaccine near you. 

We are optimistic about the coming year and are proud to take this step that prioritizes the health of our community while contributing to our nation’s recovery. We look forward to welcoming you back for an exciting and safe fall semester.

The MBU Pandemic Team

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