BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Berea College announced Thursday it will require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they plan to return to campus for in-person instruction this fall.
The vaccination policy was developed after surveying students, staff, and faculty who provided input in the decision-making process. The college said in a release that consideration for specific exemptions for approved medical and religious reasons will be accommodated.
"But the expectation is that Berea’s campus and classrooms will overwhelmingly be populated by vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all," the release stated.
Enrolled students who do not wish to be vaccinated for other reasons will be able to select from a limited list of online courses to allow them to make some academic progress toward their degree remotely. But those students won't be able to participate in Berea's Labor Program since they will not be physically on campus.
Any first-year students who choose not to be vaccinated will be offered a deferment, and other students will be able to take or extend a leave of absence if they do not wish to take courses online.
“Throughout this current academic year, we sought to protect the health of our campus community,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “We implemented a successful combination of physical distancing, masking, restricting travel away from campus along with other new policies that resulted in a minimal number of positive COVID-19 cases. For the upcoming academic year, Berea will continue to protect the health of the College community through COVID-19 vaccinations.”