Student vaccine requirement for next fall

Williams students, faculty and staff,

We are writing to inform you that, starting August 1, 2021, the college will require all undergraduate and Master’s students to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination as part of the student registration process. Exceptions will only be allowed for medical or religious reasons and must be documented through a formal process. Look for details in a future communication. 

Maud and Senior Staff decided this requirement was necessary to protect each of you individually and to protect others, including children and those unable to get vaccinated because of medical conditions. While there is no ironclad defense against coronavirus, extensive public health research has shown that vaccination greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization and death. Last week’s Williams Record editorial offers a nice summary of the principled arguments in favor of this requirement. 

Any student living abroad who doesn’t have access to vaccination options in their current location will of course be allowed to return to Williams, but will be expected to promptly arrange vaccination after arrival, unless exempted. The college will provide transportation and other support as needed.

Here are a few further details:

  • We will not require or recommend a specific vaccine. Vaccines provided in other countries are also acceptable. The goal is to get as many people safely vaccinated as possible.
  • If you want to learn more about the science on vaccines, please review the CDC’s website on Covid vaccines and their resource page for finding other, credible sources of vaccine information
  • We have not made a decision as to whether the college will require that faculty and staff get vaccinated, but we encourage it in the strongest possible terms.
  • Staff and faculty who choose not to get vaccinated (as distinct from those who receive a formal exemption) will not be eligible for workplace accommodations.
  • Staff and faculty will receive a separate communication about planning for remote staff to transition back to on-campus work starting this summer. The message will include further details about vaccination and workplace safety. We expect, for example, that masks will continue to be required in non-private campus workspaces, in accordance with CDC recommendations. 

Students, once you’ve been vaccinated please immediately submit the information to Student Health Services: just go to Student Health Services’ Ephs Portal, select the Upload tab, and choose “Immunizations outside MD or Williams” to complete the process. You will be cleared for return in the fall, and no additional paperwork will be required related to the Covid vaccine.

With Phase 3 just having started we hope this advance notice will give everyone who is eligible time to get vaccinated, protecting yourselves and others. Thank you for that commitment.

Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College
Fred Puddester, Vice President for Finance & Administration and Treasurer