The University of Notre Dame will require all students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in order to enroll in classes next school year.
Students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs must be fully inoculated “as a condition of enrollment for the 2021–22 academic year,” the school announced on its website Wednesday.
The private university just outside South Bend, Ind., is among the first schools in the country to mandate shots. Many colleges, including the largest institutions in Illinois, have so far refrained from requiring vaccination, saying instead that students and employees are strongly encouraged to sign up.
“We will, of course, accommodate documented medical and religious exemptions,” Notre Dame said on its website. “We will also offer a way to be vaccinated for those who are unable to obtain a vaccination prior to arriving for the fall semester or whose vaccination is not recognized by the state of Indiana.”
The decision from Notre Dame follows similar moves by Rutgers, Cornell and Brown and Northeastern universities.
Notre Dame will open a campus vaccination site for students Thursday. The school is also asking students, faculty and staff to share their vaccination status using a new online tool.
The university says it will “consider making some adjustments to our health and safety protocols in the final weeks of this semester” if 90% of students are vaccinated in the next few weeks.
Notre Dame struggled with coronavirus outbreaks last fall when it became one of the few large schools to welcome students back to campus dorms and face-to-face classes. At one point, in-person classes were converted to online-only to keep infections at bay. The school has since returned to in-person instruction.
Also last year, Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins contracted COVID-19 after attending alumnae Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House. Pictures showed he didn’t always wear a mask, and he apologized to students for what he called an “error of judgment.”
In Illinois, colleges and universities have not announced plans to mandate the vaccine but many are encouraging students to seek out vaccines before they leave campus for the summer break.