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The University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman announced a fall COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all USM students, faculty and staff during an emergency meeting Friday morning.
The mandate will include appropriate exemptions for medical and religious reasons, he said.
The announcement comes as schools across the country, including Rutgers, Brown and American universities, issued mandates of their own.
[USM Board of Regents gives chancellor authority to determine mandatory vaccine policy]
Vaccines will give students back the “college experience,” Perman said. With a vaccine mandate, students will be able to socialize safely, he added.
Perman said that the “UK variant”, which was first identified at this university this March, was concerning. The University of Maryland School of Medicine found that it makes up 30 to 40 percent of the 10 percent of positive COVID samples they are analyzing. The variant has been shown to be more contagious, and some studies suggest it could be more dangerous, Perman said.
“That’s what we’re preparing for: more infectious, more harmful variants that we think could be circulating on our campuses come fall,” Perman said.
Perman said he trusts the “more-than-ample” data on vaccine safety and efficacy, and will continue to follow the data in making decisions. There are still many more details to iron out, such as implementation and exceptions, but Perman said he’s grateful for the support to try to make USM campuses safer.
This story will be updated.