By Cathy Jameson
When they rolled out earlier this year, my college-aged daughter shared that she was not interested in getting the COVID shot. Growing up watching her younger brother suffer through a vaccine injury, she knows that health doesn’t come in the form of a jab. I wish others her age had the knowledge she naturally gained when her brother fell ill. I’m grateful they were spared watching a sibling suffer, but past personal experience certainly does help shape future medical decisions.
I hadn’t worried that Ronan’s big sister would opt for the experimental injectable until a little over 2 weeks ago. That’s when her college announced their return-to-campus plans. The vaccine hadn’t been required, per previous parent reports, up to and well past the college’s May 1st acceptance day date. But getting that experimental vaccine is now part of a new protocol to keep the campus “safe” and fully in-person.
For many, that decision was perceived as a huge relief. Finally! We can go back to normal! some parents shared on the school’s family page online. Good, everyone should be vaccinated, was another type of response offered. Others, like myself, were not quickly celebrating this rash, so it seemed, decision. Incredibly disappointed, I added a comment stating my frustration.
Later, finding each other off the family page, other parents and I banded together to discuss this unexpected change.
A Bit of a Back Story
Several restrictions were put into place when news of the coronavirus hit last year, but campus never completely shut down during the 2020-2021 school year. Classes were still held, and grades were still being recorded. Only a few colleges, I believe, could boast that.
During both semesters last year, COVID spread through the student population at my daughter’s school as it did through many other schools. Since it is a virus, that was to be expected. Like other places, the school had procedures set up to minimize the spread and to care for students who contracted it. Providing separate housing for the duration of the illness, including for my daughter, the few outbreaks that did occur were handled quickly and, we thought, well.
Thinking the worst behind her, we expected that the upcoming school year would start a little less rocky.
Oh, how wrong we were.
The new requirement for the Fall includes getting one of the experimental COVID vaccines or asking for an exemption to be granted. If the exemption is approved, it will be noticeable who is and who isn’t vaccinated as masks must be worn by the unvaccinated. Basing fear over facts, those students, and faculty and staff who also decline one of the 3 EUAs, will be treated as 2nd class citizens. They, and only they, will face COVID-related restrictions, some that are no longer being practiced in the surrounding local communities.