RWU requiring all students to get COVID-19 vaccine ahead of fall semester

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BRISTROL, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Roger Williams University (RWU) is planning for a full in-person return come fall, but there is a catch.

In a letter to students, faculty and staff Thursday, RWU President Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis said the university is requiring all students attending classes and working on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of the school year.

“We are preparing for an engaging semester and rich student life opportunities, events and experiences, thanks to the reality of wider availability of vaccines coupled with the ways we have learned to navigate this pandemic as a community,” Mioulis wrote. “We envision a return to full classrooms and laboratories, in-person internships, student teaching, and community research that are the cornerstones of our civic engagement opportunities for students, and to more socialization across residence halls and meals together in our dining halls.”

Miaoulis said there will be medical and religious exemptions made for some students, and they are urging all faculty and staff get immunized as well.

“We have proven that we can rise to any challenge we will face,” he said. “Whatever it will look like, I am energized by a fall semester with more options and fewer restrictions.”

Students who are still weary of returning to campus in person and would prefer to continue learning remotely are asked to fill out an online form no later than May 1.

The president also said while they’re preparing to take another step closer to normalcy, he still expects everyone to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

“RWU has the foundation in place to maintain or reinstate any necessary safety protocols for the year ahead,” Miaoulis added.

The university plans to continue its twice-weekly testing program and contact-tracing efforts.

“These safety protocols have enabled us to have a successful academic year that included in-person and remote instruction and an engaged student life experience,” Miaoulis said. “Your dedication to our safety protocols and testing continues to make this possible.”

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