Western New England will require students and teachers to be vaccinated

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The fall semester is right around the corner for local colleges like Western New England University in Springfield. Heading into this academic year, the Delta variant poses a new challenge.

“For all of us its something to be mindful of the virus hasn’t gone away,” said Kathy Noone, Director of Health and Wellness at Western New England University. “I think all of us in higher education and the general public is figuring how to live with this.”

Noone said they are requiring all students and teachers to be vaccinated, but exemptions can be made for medical or religious reasons. So this means that students and teachers can count on a nearly 100 percent vaccinated campus, meaning they can count on a normal classroom experience, but that doesn’t mean things could change.

“The guidelines communicate strongly that we can relax some of those measures, but the caveat is what does the Delta variant do to some of those guidelines,” said Noone.

She also knows there is a possibility of other variants in the future.

“The strength, the mutations, that’s where the science comes in and you have to be careful,” said Noone. “Delta and the other variants that are out there, and what do we have to prepare for.”

Western New England will have a COVID-19 dashboard on their website to keep parents informed on transmission and positivity rates. They also plan to have vaccine clinics on campus, and have directions online on how to register. The first day of classes for students is Monday, August 30th.

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