EDITORIAL: New vaccine protocols are the right step, now students must follow
New students are arriving on campus, parking tickets are being stuck to cars and Welcome Weekend is just around the corner. The Fall 2021 semester is about to begin, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still lingering.
Just in the nick of time, the university crafted a new plan to combat rising cases.
In a letter to the campus community on Aug. 19, President Bob Davies announced that students, faculty, and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 3 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
We spent the summer watching other universities follow the same philosophy. While the latest announcement came a little too close to the start of the semester for comfort, the new protocols are undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Now that the semester is upon us, the university’s ability to go back to normal depends on our decisions.
Decision is the key word: The university has provided a happy medium for those who want the protection vaccinations provide and those who don’t for their own reasons.
“While science supports the safety and efficacy of vaccines, there are many groups of people who still feel uncertain about getting the shot,” Davies said in his letter. “Their reasons may be cultural, religious, political or based on personal history or experience.”
Frequent testing has proven to be the best way to track case outbreaks on campus. Over the past year, CMU has made great strides in transparency with contact tracing, documenting reported cases and sharing the information with the public.
No doubt, weekly testing will only increase the accuracy of the data presented on the “COVID-19 Information and Resources” webpage
Only time will tell how well the CMU community will follow the new protocols.
Anyone that does not provide proof of vaccination or testing by the deadline will face “progressive disciplinary action,” according to Davies. The university has yet to outline what exactly that means.
Indeed, the “Protect Yourself. Protect Others.” program is a natural step in keeping campus inhabitants safe but only if everyone abides by the choices set before them.
The university must continue being transparent by outlining the “disciplinary action” some may face. This can only encourage more members of the community to make the right decision.
But the administration can only do so much because it's we have the final say.
As you make CMU your home, please know that you share it with thousands of others. In the coming weeks, it will be paramount to follow the new protocols to the letter.
Testing and vaccines will continue to be free and available from 8 a.m - 5 p.m. beginning Aug. 30 in the Terrace Rooms of the Bovee University Center.
CMU has provided the blueprint to keep our campus safe. It’s up to us to make the right decisions. Do your part to build a strong, healthy community.