COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As Ohio’s coronavirus case numbers rise, some colleges and universities are considering whether they should require the COVID-19 vaccine this fall.
As of now, only 40 percent of Ohioans age 20-29 are vaccinated and colleges fear that without the vaccine, college campuses could be at risk of spreading the virus.
“Our education is rooted in having people together, in intimate settings, in the classroom, in laboratories,” said Rock Jones, president of Ohio Wesleyan University.
This fall, Ohio Wesleyan University will require students to be vaccinated if they want to return to campus.
“We know that there’s a group of students who have not been vaccinated who are now choosing to be vaccinated because they want to have this experience on campus this year,” Jones said.
Ohio Wesleyan is not alone in this decision; Cleveland State University will also require the vaccine at the beginning of the school year. In a statement, the school said, “All three of the approved vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available.”
This month, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that bans public schools and universities from requiring the vaccine until it receives full FDA approval. The law will not go into effect until October.
“The university is preparing to fully comply with the new law when it takes effect in October,” the statement from Cleveland State read.
As for Ohio Wesleyan, as a private institution, it can make its own policies.
“We understand that some will decide not to be with us because of that,” Jones said. “We regret their decision, but we believe that our decision is based on the best medical science and evidence.”