St. Olaf joins national COVID-19 College Challenge
St. Olaf College has joined the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, a nationwide initiative led by the White House and U.S. Department of Education that aims to increase the number of students, faculty, and staff who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Colleges that sign up for the challenge commit to ensuring that every member of their college community has information about vaccine eligibility and site locations; implementing a plan to get as many members of their campus community vaccinated as possible; and providing accessible vaccine sites near their community.
St. Olaf hosted several COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus this spring, provided transportation to students to nearby vaccination sites, ensured faculty and staff have paid time away from work to get vaccinated, and has sent regular communication to the campus community about where and how to access vaccines.
On June 15, President David Anderson announced that St. Olaf will require all new and returning faculty, staff, and students to be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall 2021 semester.
The college will provide students who have been unable to be vaccinated with an opportunity to do so upon their arrival to campus. Exceptions to the vaccine requirement will be considered as needed to accommodate individuals with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.
By promoting vaccination against COVID-19, St. Olaf is championing a return to normalcy that opens up many opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.
“Requiring vaccines is the most safe and effective line of defense against COVID-19,” Anderson noted in his announcement. “Full vaccination will help us reach our goal of enabling our community to interact without masks, to work more closely and in person with each other, to eat lunch in Northfield, to welcome parents and other visitors to campus for music and athletic events, and to enjoy many more of the things that make St. Olaf such a wonderful place to live and study.”
President David R. Anderson ’74Full vaccination will help us reach our goal of enabling our community to interact without masks, to work more closely and in person with each other, to eat lunch in Northfield, to welcome parents and other visitors to campus for music and athletic events, and to enjoy many more of the things that make St. Olaf such a wonderful place to live and study.
Recent St. Olaf data shows that 85 percent of all faculty and staff and 75 percent of all rising second-year, third-year, and fourth-year students are fully or partially vaccinated.
It’s the Biden administration’s goal to have 70 percent of all American adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day on Sunday, July 4. The COVID-19 College Challenge is one of several efforts and initiatives aimed at reaching that goal.
According to ongoing reporting by NPR, 56 percent of American adults 18+ are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and 53.5 percent of the population has had at least one dose. St. Olaf will continue to consult with the Minnesota Department of Health and national infectious disease control experts to determine whether other public health precautions will be necessary as we look toward the fall semester.