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Northwestern to mandate vaccinations for students returning to campus in the fall

Northwestern joins Loyola University Chicago, Columbia College and DePaul University in requiring students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Northwestern University arch.
Students at Northwestern will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. 
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Northwestern University will require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall, the school said.

Students who plan to access Northwestern’s campus or enroll in any in-person classes or activities in the fall must be fully vaccinated to be able to register for classes, according to an email sent to students Wednesday.

“COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tool to help end the pandemic, and requiring students to be vaccinated will best support the health of our community and position us for in-person classroom and co-curricular activities for the fall term,” Kathleen Hagerty, Northwestern’s provost, Luke Figora, vice president for operations, and Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, vice president for student affairs, said in a joint statement.

Northwestern joins Loyola University Chicago, Columbia College and DePaul University in requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

Northwestern will grant exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

International students unable to access vaccinations in their home countries will have the chance to request a temporary exception and sign up to be vaccinated when arriving back to campus, according to the email.

The university estimates over 75% of Northwestern’s students are either fully vaccinated or have completed their first dose.

Though the vaccine mandate doesn’t include faculty and staff, Northwestern is strongly encouraging them to get vaccinated.

Currently, the University of Illinois at Chicago is not mandating vaccination against COVID-19.

Other universities, including Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, encourage vaccinations for students, faculty and staff, but have not announced if they will require them.