Marist Policy on the COVID-19 Vaccine


May 21, 2021

Dear Marist students and families,

There is a growing sense of optimism on the Marist campus that we will soon return to normal, both as a college and as a nation.  The pandemic has been exhausting for all of us, but it appears as though we’ve weathered the COVID-19 storm.  In light of improving public health conditions and the lifting of restrictions, Marist is planning to be fully operational this coming fall, including classroom-based instruction; in-person dining; Division I athletics; intramurals; service programs like Campus Ministry and the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership; more than 80 student clubs and organizations; music; dance; theatre; study abroad; guest lectures; and all of the other components of our vibrant campus culture.  Enrollments for next semester are strong, and the College remains in good financial shape.

Resuming normal life, however, is predicated on widespread vaccination.  Accordingly, Marist’s Board of Trustees recently voted to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students attending the College in person this coming academic year (faculty and staff must also be vaccinated).  This requirement is similar to our existing requirements for other immunizations, such as the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella.  In the coming weeks, we will post to the Marist website further instructions regarding our COVID-19 vaccination requirement and FAQs.  Documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but it is our expectation that the vast majority of the Marist community will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before we begin the fall 2021 semester.  This is the only way to ensure that we can remain fully open and enjoy the activities that make Marist such a special place.

This step has been strongly recommended by Marist’s medical advisory team, the American College Health Association, and the State of New York.  In addition, most other major colleges and universities across the country are requiring vaccinations.  The scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that the three FDA-authorized vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) are safe and extremely effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization associated with the coronavirus.  They are also highly protective against both asymptomatic infection and further spread of the virus.  Simply put, vaccination is the best way to keep everyone at Marist safe.

Moving forward, we will continue to develop plans and policies based on the most current scientific and medical guidance available.  Your cooperation with our health and safety protocols over the past year and a half has gotten us this far, and I’m deeply appreciative of your resilience and perseverance.  Our people are at the center of campus life at Marist, and renewing that sense of community will be the most gratifying part of the College’s return to normalcy.  My thanks in advance for your continued support. 

Dennis J. Murray

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