Franklin Pierce University: Students must be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall

  • Franklin Pierce University Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/16/2021 2:47:06 PM

Franklin Pierce University students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall semester, the school announced this week.

“While we were extremely successful in our modified on-ground operations over the 2020-2021 academic year thanks to the commitment of every member of Raven Nation, our ultimate goal is to return, safely, to a much less restrictive environment for teaching, learning, and working,” wrote President Kim Mooney.

Mooney’s announcement stated that the health and safety of the campus was of top priority, and the best way to ensure it was to require vaccination, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

In order to return to campus, students will have to provide a copy of their vaccination record card to the university’s Health Services, or graduate program directors for graduate students.

Only two exemptions for vaccination are available to students: medical or religious. To qualify for either exemption, students must fill out a form detailing their situation and submit it to the university’s Health Services for approval. The form also requires potentially un-vaccinated students to continue to participate in testing protocols, wear masks, and potentially leave campus in the event of an outbreak.

The university does not have vaccination site on campus but has offered assistance to students in acquiring a vaccine. 

Being vaccinated will also exempt students from the on-campus testing program unless they become symptomatic or travel internationally, and will allow them not to be subject to quarantine protocols should they be in contact with a COVID-positive individual. 

At UNH, similar benefits are being offered to vaccinated individuals – opting out of the testing program and no further need to wear masks indoors – but vaccination will not be required for students to be on campus. Keene State College also has a similar policy in place, with vaccinated students being able to test less regularly and no longer being subject to quarantine protocols. Both schools state that they strongly encourage the community to get vaccinated despite not requiring it.

“Vaccinations will help us steadily return to the important interpersonal and community activities we have missed over the last 15 months, and help us welcome our newest Ravens to the Franklin Pierce community safely,” Mooney wrote. 

Mooney also praised the university’s adherence to COVID-19 protocols and adaptability to the fluctuating environment. 

“With the continued commitment and support of our students, new and returning, we confidently look forward to more normal daily life and experiences in the fall for all,” she wrote. 

Guidelines for faculty and staff are forthcoming, she added. Other policies, such as potential effects on international students, will be discussed and developed in July, according to Randell J. Kennedy, the president of Academy Communications, on behalf of Franklin Pierce University.

As these plans develop, Mooney said, the administration will continue to update the community and communicate any changes. 

“I wish you all the best for a healthy and restful summer,” Mooney wrote. 

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