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Will Your College Still Require COVID Vaccinations Now That The State Dropped Its Mandate?

"As we continue to move toward living with this virus, my administration will relax some requirements while continuing to protect the most vulnerable," Gov. JB Pritzker said.

People commute on the quad near Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus on August 16, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration dropped a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for college students and faculty members last week, leaving local universities to adopt their own policies for vaccine requirements.

Pritzker also eliminated requirements for emergency medical service providers to be vaccinated, while upholding mandates for staff at K-12 schools, day cares, congregate care facilities and other health care facilities.

“I continue to urge all Illinoisans to make sure they’re up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the most at-risk populations and those unable to be vaccinated are protected from the serious side effects of this disease,” Pritzker said in a news release.

“As we continue to move toward living with this virus, my administration will relax some requirements while continuing to protect the most vulnerable and ensuring we can get every federal dollar our residents are eligible to receive.”

Block Club reached out to more than a dozen colleges and universities about whether vaccines will be required at their campuses. Here’s what they said.

Northeastern Illinois University did not respond to requests for comment.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the mass vaccination site in the Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University on April 7, 2021.

University of Illinois

Officials at the three-campus system — Urbana-Champaign, Springfield and Chicago — have not made a final decision yet. The schools had nearly 95,000 students as of the fall.

“Given the recency of the news, the University of Illinois System is evaluating how the updated COVID-19-mitigation requirements will impact our three universities and our ongoing efforts to keep our students, faculty and staff and the communities around them safe through the pandemic, now and as we return to classes in the fall,” spokesperson Adrienne Nazon said. “The health and wellbeing of the people on our campuses will drive our decisions. As we conclude our deliberation, we will share more information.”

Northwestern University

Vaccines will be required at the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

“Northwestern has already made the decision to require vaccination for faculty, staff and students for the upcoming academic year, but we will continue to adapt our own policies and protocols following the advice of public health and our own medical experts,” spokesperson Hilary Hurd Anyaso said.

Columbia College Chicago

The South Loop private arts college will still mandate vaccines, with a spokesperson saying the 97 percent vaccination rate last year enabled in-person learning.

“Columbia is planning to maintain its vaccine requirement,” spokesperson Lambrini Lukidis said. “This means all new students, faculty and staff will need to upload proof of vaccination for the fall semester. Boosters are also required for all students planning to live in residence halls. This mitigation has worked to help Columbia’s campus maintain low positivity rates as well as community spread.”

University of Chicago

No policy has been finalized for the Hyde Park campus.

“UChicago has not announced its policy on this for the upcoming academic year, which starts on September 27 here,” spokesperson Jeremy Manier said.

Roosevelt University

Vaccines and boosters will be mandated for the private university based in Downtown and suburban Schaumburg.

“Roosevelt University will continue to require COVID-19 vaccination and boosters for our on-campus community in the ’22-’23 academic year. Our vaccination and booster policy has played a large role in our ability to provide Roosevelt students with a safe, in-person learning environment,” spokesperson Mike Kaluzny said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore campus in the Rogers Park neighborhood on January 8, 2021

Loyola University Chicago

Vaccines will be required for the Rogers Park and Downtown campuses.

“Loyola University Chicago will continue to require vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff,” spokesperson Matt McDermott said.

DePaul University

Leaders at the school based in Lincoln Park and Downtown have not made a final decision on vaccines.

“DePaul is still considering how the end of Illinois’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate will affect the university’s COVID-19 protocols. Any changes will be communicated to the university community,” spokesperson Kristin Mathews said.

Northern Illinois University

The DeKalb-based campus will not require vaccines this fall.

“For the upcoming year, NIU will not be requiring the vaccine but strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and/or be up to date on the vaccines.” spokesperson Joe King said.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

“We’ve reviewed the update to the executive order, and we have not announced changes to our vaccine requirement. We continue to consult with our public health expert, and we frequently and closely review guidelines from local, state, and national agencies. If there are any changes in our Covid protocol, we will make sure to communicate those updates to our community,” Communications Director Bree Witt said.

Chicago State University

The school based in Roseland is still requiring vaccinations on its campus.

“Chicago State University still requires all students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and we will encourage students and employees to be up-to-date on their COVID-19 booster shot,” spokesperson Lauren Finch said. “To promote this, we will host vaccination clinics and will continue our $100 incentive program for students who are fully vaccinated and boosted. The state has also provided CSU with a significant supply of [personal protective equipment] and rapid tests that will be available to students and employees.”

City Colleges of Chicago

The city’s system overseeing seven community colleges is reviewing its vaccine policy, spokesperson Veronica Resa said.

Credit: Michelle Kanaar/Borderless Magazine
Harry S Truman College, one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago, on Dec. 9, 2021 in Chicago, Ill.

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