Maine Community Colleges End COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Students

Officials cited vaccination rates in Maine and access to preventative and treatment options in dropping the mandate.
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  • The Maine Community College System will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • While the requirement is no longer in place, officials recommended in a release that students stay up to date on their vaccines and boosters.
  • The state's community colleges will increase their existing programs to combat respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 on campuses, officials said.

Maine community colleges will no longer require the COVID-19 vaccine for on-campus students.

Maine Community College System (MCCS) President David Daigler cited high vaccination rates in the state and access to a range of preventative and treatment options for COVID-19 as reasons to lift the mandate, which had required all on-campus students to be vaccinated, according to a release.

The MCCS board of trustees unanimously approved lifting the vaccine requirement following Daigler's recommendation. The board also adopted a measure to encourage students to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.

The trustees' move includes one exception, according to the release, since students may be required to be vaccinated due to requirements at "third-party locations, such as student placement sites."

"We have been monitoring COVID-19 benchmarks all along, and this vote is a thoughtfully and carefully considered decision by the board," Board of Trustees Chair Joyce Maker said in the release. "It is the right time to adopt new tools and tactics to best address managing COVID-19 on campus."

All seven of the state's community colleges are set to strengthen programs to combat the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu, Daigler said.

"The health and safety of the people in our community remains our top priority, and we know the pandemic is not over," Daigler said. "That is why we are coupling this decision with a commitment to expanding and strengthening our on-campus wellness education efforts."

Colleges and universities across the country have taken a varied approach to vaccine mandates in recent months. The University of Illinois system dropped its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in January, BestColleges reported. University of Illinois officials likewise recommended that students stay up to date on vaccines and boosters in ending that requirement.

Other institutions, such as Harvard University, moved to require the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster for the 2022-23 academic year.