BOSTON (WWLP) – The Presidents of Massachusetts’s 15 Community Colleges announced Monday that all students and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated by January 2022.

This announcement comes as more municipalities across the state re-introduce mask mandates and cases of COVID-19 increase. In a statement, the Presidents of the Commonwealth’s community colleges credit the requirement on the  increased access and availability of vaccines, the Food & Drug Administration’s full and pending approval of available vaccines, and CDC guidance that the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be extremely safe and highly effective at preventing infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

  1. Berkshire Community College
  2. Bristol Community College
  3. Bunker Hill Community College
  4. Cape Cod Community College
  5. Greenfield Community College
  6. Holyoke Community College
  7. Massachusetts Bay Community College
  8. Massasoit Community College
  9. Middlesex Community College
  10. Mt. Wachusett Community College
  11. North Shore Community College
  12. Northern Essex Community College
  13. Quinsigamond Community College
  14. Roxbury Community College
  15. Springfield Technical Community College

“During the last eighteen months, the Massachusetts Community Colleges have prioritized the health and safety of our communities while also recognizing that many of our students have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Presidents said in a statement shared with their campuses. “While a significant number of students, faculty, and staff are already vaccinated or are in the process of becoming vaccinated, the fifteen colleges are seeking to increase the health and safety of the learning and working environment in light of the ongoing public health concerns and current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Massachusetts Community Colleges are committed to ensuring vaccination status is not a barrier to students and will continue offering a range of virtual learning opportunities and services.”

22News spoke with John B. Cook, President Springfield Technical Community College, who said this mandate is just one more layer of protection for the school and some students and staff are already vaccinated.

“In our health programs, some of those programs are already being required because of what we call ‘clinical placements’ to have been vaccinated already, so this is not new news for some of our students in some of our health programs,” said Cook.

STCC is still finalizing plans as to how vaccination status’ will be documented.

22News also spoke to students at Holyoke Community College to see their opinions on the mandate.

“I guess it makes sense then. I mean the masks can’t do everything. I mean if they have to to come to school. I’m assuming a lot of people who are on the fence will just do it. It’s kind of a personal decision sometimes but it definitely helps. If everybody is getting it then it’s minimizing risk,” said HCC student Jack Hughes.

The requirement is meant to ensure the safety of the more than 135,000 students served by the community colleges each year. All students and faculty who will be on campus are included in the new mandate; those planning to take courses that do not contain any in-person components are excused from the new rule.