Central Penn not requiring COVID-19 vaccine

State law requires only bacterial meningitis vaccine for students living in student housing

By Krystal Golden

Knightly News Reporter


Now well past a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many students wonder what the COVID-19 vaccine will mean for them.

Will Central Penn College mandate the vaccine for students and employees?

No, according to Krista Wolfe, vice president of academic affairs and provost.

“Since a vaccine of any type is considered an invasive procedure, the college cannot mandate people to get this; however, we are highly suggesting that (people get vaccinated),” Wolfe said.

While the school may not have a policy on the COVID-19 vaccine, it does have a general vaccine policy for internships and student housing.

Depending on the internship site, students who are completing their internships may be required to have certain vaccinations.

“Some of our internships, especially in (the School of) Health Sciences, require students be vaccinated for things like hepatitis, meningitis, measles and chickenpox,” Wolfe said.

Students living in campus housing and prospective students looking to reside on campus are also required to complete a health form that includes a vaccine record for childhood vaccines.

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

These vaccines include:

  • MMR (measles, mumps and Rubella – German measles)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • HBV (hepatitis B virus)
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • Tetanus

 “The only waiver students are required to sign is the meningitis waiver if they have not received the vaccine,” Lindsay Garber, director of student housing and residential life, said. “We strongly recommend that students have the other vaccinations and do require a list of their immunizations as part of the medical history form. However, we do not require an additional waiver for these vaccines.”

The waiver on the bacterial meningitis vaccine for students living in campus housing has been in effect since 2002, after the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the College and University Student Vaccination Act. This act requires all students in college- or university-owned housing to have at least one dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

Despite not having a policy around COVID-19 vaccines, Central Penn continues to ensure the safety of students and employees through detailed COVID-19 emergency planning and daily surveys of people on campus through app-based screening forms and QR codes people scan when they enter rooms in campus buildings. This information is used to help trace potential exposure to the virus. Students can access the survey through the Central Penn College app.

Central Penn officials will continue to look at local, state and federal health authorities for guidance on vaccination requirements in the future.

Have a comment or a story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi. You can reach him at michaellear-olimpi@centralpenn.edu.