BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic is requiring all staff, faculty and students who plan to be on campus during the 2021-22 academic year to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
COA previously announced that they would wait until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made their use authorizations permanent for the vaccines, as opposed to the emergency use authorizations currently allotted, but has now joined many other colleges, health systems and organizations in the state in making the vaccine mandatory.
“Having a fully vaccinated population on campus, with the rare medical or religious exemption, is essential to ensuring an optimal learning and living environment during these times,” said COA President Darron Collins. “With changing assumptions around COVID-19 because of the Delta variant, our evolving legal understanding, and the need for clarity in planning, this is a decision that we can no longer wait on.”
The school, which opens its fall term on Friday, Sept. 10, is allowing for documented, approved religious and medical exemptions. Students are required to submit proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption by Aug. 13. School officials said that they are working closely with some international students and others who may have trouble accessing the vaccine, and that these students will be able to begin their vaccination regimen once they arrive. They will be accommodated to ensure they can access course materials remotely for the beginning of the school year.
The school will conduct baseline testing as various cohorts of students arrive, beginning later this month, and has announced that all members of the COA community will be required to wear masks indoors, other than private offices and personal residences, from the time they arrive on campus until baseline testing is completed.
Anyone on campus during the 2021-22 academic year who is not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask at all times when indoors in shared air spaces, except when in their personal residence or private office. Most of the campus will likely be open to invited guests only.