SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s almost move-in weekend at the University of Scranton.
Before students can settle in to their dorms, they have to be fully vaccinated. It’s among hundreds of colleges and universities now requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester. There are limited reasons why a student may waive the requirements under Pennsylvania law.
The university says all students attending in-person classes or must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by August 27th, two days from Wednesday.
Students at the University of Scranton are days away from returning to in-person classes. But without proof of vaccination for COVID-19 or an exemption waiver from the school, they won’t be allowed back on campus.
“Students upload that to their housing portal and it gets processed through our student health services and then they are able to come to campus then, and unfortunately if you don’t get any of those, we’re not going to permit you on campus,” University of Scranton area coordinator Eric Morton said.
Some students say they support the vaccine requirement and they’re looking forward to a better year because of it.
“I think this year’s going to be much better because we’re going to be able to make better friends, better connections more events and a safer campus,” junior Brandon Degrosa said.
Students should have had their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson by August 13th. International graduate student Preed Anand says the university accepted the “Covishield” vaccine she received as a front-line healthcare worker in India, allowing her to come to the U.S. for the first time to continue her education.
“It was a dream to study here,” Anand said.
A student who asked to remain anonymous says she won’t get the vaccine. She says her education may have to continue elsewhere if the university doesn’t accept her request for religious exemption from the vaccine requirement.
“They shouldn’t be forcing us to go against our beliefs if we are willing to compromise and do the necessary testing and wearing masks and making sure they’re safe,” the student said.
“It’s tough. You’re not going to please everybody and we’re trying to keep in mind a lot of the hindrances,” Morton said.
According to the university, medical or religious vaccine exemption requests are considered in compliance with Pennsylvania law but approval is not guaranteed.