Augustana College has announced that it will lift COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people on campus for the fall semester.
“We want to see the campus fully return to being the vibrant and empowering place it is designed to be,” said President Steve Bahls. “Augustana is strongly encouraging all community members to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.”
Fully vaccinated students will not be subject to masking policies or physical distancing guidelines. All community members, including students, faculty, and staff, will be required to provide their vaccination status to the college on or before Aug. 1.
College leaders are making plans for in-person learning, athletic events, social activities and opportunities to enjoy the arts.
“Augustana students remained vigilant and responsible in the 2020-2021 school year as we navigated a unique and difficult time,” said Dr. Wes Brooks, dean of students. “The COVID-19 vaccine is the next step of the process, and one we’ve seen many of our students already commit to.”
Dr. Brooks has led the Augustana Strong Task Force since March 2020, with a goal of keeping campus open for in-person classes while co-existing responsibly with COVID-19. The task force was successful due in large part to student compliance and community involvement.
In a survey conducted before the end of the academic year, 87% of the Augustana students who responded were fully vaccinated by May 23. An additional 5.7% were partially vaccinated at the time of the survey.
Students who do not provide proof of vaccination will be required to wear a mask, social distance, and participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Certain campus activities and programs may not be available to students who are not vaccinated. Additional restrictions also may apply throughout the year if circumstances suggest a health threat.
Vaccination status will remain confidential. The college will use the information to assess whether any herd immunity benefits may be available, and what other COVID-19 mitigation steps will be required.
At the same time, college leaders recognize that getting vaccinated isn’t as easy for students from other states and countries, and they are making plans for students who can’t get vaccinated over the summer to have easy access to vaccination when they return to campus.
“We know our students are compassionate and reflective community citizens, and we’re confident the large majority have already or will soon be fully vaccinated. That is the next step in remaining Augie Strong,” said President Bahls.