Students looking to enroll in Maine’s Community Colleges will have one less barrier to entry thanks to the system’s lifting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Wednesday, according to an announcement by its president to the board of trustees.
“I believe the board should consider ending the vaccine requirement for on-campus students, while simultaneously adopting language urging students to get the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters,” MCCS President David Daigler said in a statement.
Dr. Mark Fouree, one of MCCS’ trustees, who is also an executive in the healthcare industry, cited both progress towards achieving natural immunity and the urgent need to prepare the workforce of tomorrow and reasons behind the change.
The move stands in contrast not only to the University of Maine system that continues to require students be vaccinated, but also to post-secondary education systems around the country even raising eyebrows in California as the San Francisco Chronicle reported the development shortly after the decision was announced.
Gov. Janet Mills said in a campaign debate last October that while she did not support a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students at all Maine public schools “at this time,” she did not rule out such a mandate in the future.
Republicans were quick to welcome MCCS’ opening its doors to all students regardless of vaccination status at its seven locations throughout Maine.
“House Republicans have constantly and consistently pushed for the community colleges to rescind the vaccine mandate,” House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham wrote on Facebook, adding “With Maine offering free tuition this mandate was the only roadblock to thousands of Maine students getting an education. Our voices have finally been heard. There’s still work to do involving medical freedom and we remain committed.”
According to a study published last month, 1,100 campuses around the country still require COVID-19 vaccinations while 424 do not.
Better make that 1,099 versus 425.