SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- AIC upperclassmen moved in Sunday, one day before they begin classes. Some were stepping foot on campus for the first time in over a year.
“Even our returning students, they went remote and never came back, so this could be the first time on campus since march of 2020,” said Matthew Scott, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at AIC.
He noted much has changed since the last move-in weekend.
“Last year when we did the move in the process, there was no vaccine for us,” said Scott. “It was masks, physical distancing, plexiglass barriers.”
AIC is in Springfield, a community considered by the CDC as high-risk for COVID-19 transmission. So that’s a big reason why a covid-19 vaccination is a requirement here, and they’re making sure unvaccinated students who check in get the shot.
“It makes the campus safer,” said Hannah Rinehart, a Junior at AIC. “Last year, cases just popped up everywhere, so I’m glad with the vaccine everybody will be safe.”
AIC partnered with the Behavioral Health Network to host on-campus vaccinations, and it’s open to the public.
This is a three-day vaccine clinic, so students who aren’t vaccinated or didn’t have access to the vaccine can come in and get the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, this allows students to achieve immunity faster.
“We wanted to provide students on campus something that would give them full protection for when they arrive and start classes,” said Kristy Santos, Director of Vaccine Equity at Behavioral Health Network. “We also have the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for students who need a second shot.
Santos said they’re working hard to increase vaccinations with the delta variant rising and the city’s vaccination rate only at 46 percent. And they know there is a possibility of breakthrough infections, but vaccinations are still achieving, what they set out to do.
“Yeah, hospitalizations and deaths are way lower now so it’s all about mitigating risks at this point,” said Scott.
AIC will host the free vaccine clinic Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to Noon. All eligible residents are welcome to come to get vaccinated.