Vaccination Will be Required for Montgomery College Students Returning to Campus

It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic had changed our lives since the first lockdown in March 2020. The pandemic has affected not only our everyday lives but also our lives as students. Many students, including college students, were forced to adapt to changes to the dynamic of the classes, rapidly switching from in-person to remote environments, which brought many challenges that, we as students, had to face while trying to keep learning.

One thing that has brought hope of getting back to normal is the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine was first introduced earlier this year with three variations by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. With the positive results of vaccines as protection and the rise of the Montgomery County population getting vaccinated, many colleges and schools around the area started to implement plans of safe returns back to school campuses.

Montgomery College is one of the colleges working diligently to bring students back on campus by the Spring of 2022. But for that to work safely, MC now requires students, staff, and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID.  This requirement is a significant development for the MC students community. Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes, interim president of Montgomery College, has issued a memo to employees saying, “Given the prolonged health crisis that our nation is experiencing, Montgomery College will implement COVID-19 vaccination requirements for faculty, staff, administrators, and students. All employees must verify that they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by November 8, 2021. Students must verify that they are fully vaccinated by January 7, 2022, in time for the spring semester.”

Anne Boa is responsible for collecting patient information and Demetrius Eady is responsible for performing COVID testing at Montgomery College Rockville Campus. Photo by Michael Hyman. (MICHAEL HYMAN)

Currently, only a select few classes are offered on campus for students who are vaccinated and who are not. Professors are being welcomed back on campus at a faster rate than students and are required to work on campus at least twice a week. The college is working on a more permanent and effective plan to move everyone back on campus. Regarding staff back to work, the instructions made by Dr. Dukes are, “In addition, the 100 percent return-to-campus date will now also be November 8, 2021, instead of October 4, 2021, as previously planned. Because of the impacts of the Delta variant, it is prudent to match the return date with the vaccination verification date. Until November 8, 2021, we will continue the current plan requiring a minimum of two days per week onsite work.”

Marcus Rosano,  Director of Media and Public Relations at MC, has provided a memo to give an official statement about the required vaccines, “The medical and scientific data clearly show that vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and we will all have a duty not only to protect ourselves but also protect those around us.” Rosano also provided information about those who are not vaccinated. For those who are not vaccinated, applications for medical or religious exceptions are available. With this exception, it will still be expected that students get tested every week and submit the results if they plan to return to campus.

Volunteer Philip Walsh is collecting patient information for vaccines. Photo by Michael Hyman. (MICHAEL HYMAN)
This rule is being implemented to have a safe and great return to campus for the spring semester. Students will be allowed back on campus after a year at home, and teachers will teach in person again. Montgomery College is looking forward to having students and staff return back to campus safely.