Ohio Dominican University has announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for members of its campus community, including students, faculty and staff. All individuals, including those who learn and work remotely, will be required to show proof of full vaccination by Nov. 15, 2021.
Individuals may request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
ODU has strongly encouraged all members of the campus community to get vaccinated since spring 2021 when it held on-campus vaccination clinics through its partnership with Central Ohio Primary Care. According to a recent campus survey, 80% of respondents indicated they were fully vaccinated; however, ODU President Connie Gallaher, a registered nurse for more than 40 years, says more needs to be done to protect those who live, learn and work at ODU.
“ODU is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19. While 97% of faculty respondents to our recent survey indicated they are fully vaccinated, only 75% student respondents said they are fully vaccinated, and that number drops to 64% of residential student respondents. The survey also found that 64% of respondents who indicated that they are not fully vaccinated do not intend to get the vaccine this fall. It is incumbent upon us as a university founded in faith, service, justice and commitment to the common good that we do everything possible to foster a culture of care and protect all members of our campus family.”
Nicole Powell, Ph.D., a clinical immunologist who serves as an assistant professor in ODU’s Physician Assistant Studies master’s program and co-chairs the university’s Pandemic Task Force, says a vaccine mandate is necessary due to the surging cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19 throughout Ohio and across the country.
“With the overwhelming majority of those currently hospitalized being those who are unvaccinated, the data shows quite clearly that vaccines dramatically decrease your chances of experiencing significant illness or death from COVID-19. We also know that the vaccine can help to protect others since vaccinated individuals transmit COVID-19 at lower levels than those who are unvaccinated. There has been a significant amount of evidence gathered throughout the various vaccine trials and collected over these past eight months, all of which has shown without question that these vaccines are extremely safe and effective. It is time to lean into this science to help get us through this pandemic. This is the right thing to do to protect ourselves, each other, and those who are closest to us.”
In addition to the vaccine mandate, ODU will keep in place its indoor mask mandate, which applies to classrooms, hallways, residence halls and dining halls when individuals are not actively eating or drinking.
“I am grateful to our wonderful community for doing their part to help ensure a safe and successful beginning of the academic year at ODU. Because of the efforts of our students, faculty and staff, we have seen very low numbers with regard to active cases of COVID-19 on our campus. However, throughout this pandemic, we have followed the advice and guidance of our local, state and federal health officials, and we will continue to do so to help ensure the health and safety of each and every Panther.”
More information about ODU’s vaccine policy can be found at ohiodominican.edu/ODURising.