BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WPTA21) - Indiana University students, faculty and staff will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to return to campus this fall semester.
University leaders said requiring the vaccine is the only way they can safely return to in-person classes, offer more in-person events and lift most restrictions like masking and social distancing this fall.
IU says all students, faculty and staff should have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 1.
They will need to be fully vaccinated (all doses of a vaccine plus two weeks from the final dose) by Aug. 15 or when they first return to campus, whichever is earlier.
"The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized by the FDA are extremely safe and effective," said Dr. Lana Dbeibo, director of vaccine initiatives for IU's Medical Response Team and assistant professor of infectious diseases in the IU School of Medicine.
"There are very, very few medical reasons a person would not be able to receive this vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is available throughout the U.S., and now those 12 years old and above are eligible. I recommend, unless you have a medical contraindication, to schedule and get the vaccine as soon as you can -- not only for yourself, but for those you love as well."
While an exemption request process will be available by June 15, the university is strongly encouraging everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Exemptions will be strictly limited to a very narrow set of criteria, including medical exemptions, and documented and significant religious exemptions.
"Since the pandemic began more than a year ago, one of our main goals has been to make it safer to be a part of the IU community than not," said Michael A. McRobbie, president of Indiana University.
"We continue to plan for an in-person fall 2021 semester and expect that we'll return to mostly normal operations. Requiring the COVID-19 vaccine among our students, faculty and staff continues to extend the university's comprehensive and thoughtful approach to managing and mitigating the pandemic on our campuses and brings us one step closer to making a 'return to normal' a reality."
Those who have already submitted their vaccine status to the university will not need to resubmit after this requirement is in effect.
Students, faculty and staff who need to provide their vaccination information will complete a secure form with the dates of their vaccine doses along with a photo or scan of their vaccine documentation, such as a CDC card.
The university has outlined strong consequences for those who choose not to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement and do not receive an exemption.
For students, they will see their class registration canceled, CrimsonCard access terminated and access to IU systems such as Canvas and email terminated. They will also be barred from any on-campus activity.
Faculty and staff who choose not to meet the requirement will no longer be able to be employed by Indiana University. The school said working remotely and not meeting the COVID-19 vaccine requirement is not an option.