The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

College drops COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Photo by Jen-Feng Liu for The Lafayette
Bailey Health Center will continue to provide free masks and COVID-19 tests.

Last Wednesday, the college announced the end of the campus COVID-19 vaccine mandate, marking the conclusion of Lafayette’s three-year-long pandemic era. Director of Health Services Jeffrey Goldstein explained that the move recognizes the changing nature of the pandemic.

“I think there were two critical pieces that swayed me in the direction of lifting the mandate,” Goldstein said. “One is we’re in a totally different place in terms of our collective herd immunity than we were at the beginning, middle or even close to the end of the pandemic … The other piece in the decision-making process was the new variants. The virulence of the newer variants is much less than then the original viruses.”

A virulent, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is the “ability of an infectious agent to cause serious disease.”

The lifting of the vaccine mandate, which has been in place since 2021, comes as some of Lafayette’s peer institutions, such as Colgate University, have sunset their Covid vaccine requirements. Goldstein said he has met with his counterparts at other schools to discuss the matter.

“I know of only one college that [is keeping the mandate] … and that’s Bucknell,” Goldstein said. “The consensus, at least in meeting with the directors, was that they were moving in that direction.”

Goldstein also cited the White House’s decision to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration in May as a deciding factor, though President Joe Biden signed a bill on Monday to end the emergency immediately.

“That’s the direction that the country is going in,” Goldstein said.

While Goldstein usually has unilateral authority in the college’s vaccine requirement decisions, he consulted with President Nicole Hurd and Interim Vice President for Student Life Jim Kivorski on his plans. Other college vaccine requirements, such as those for polio and hepatitis, remain in place because the risk of serious illness and death due to the transmission of the diseases is significantly heightened.

“People don’t get measles and mumps anymore, and so there is no collective herd immunity without the vaccines,” Goldstein said.

Students worried about contracting COVID-19 can find solace in the Bailey Health Center’s free KN95 masks and tests. Feather House, which used to offer tests, saw its supply expire in January, according to Dean of Students Brian Samble. 

To prevent illness, Goldstein highly recommended taking the COVID-19 vaccine and instructed risk-averse students to “operate within their own degree of comfort for risk.”

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About the Contributors
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.
Jen-Feng Liu, Staff Photographer

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