Dear Elmhurst University Community:
We would like to thank the entire Elmhurst University community for taking personal precautions and contributing to a successful year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we were able to keep our positivity rate below 1% for almost the entire academic year, in part because we abided by the guidelines outlined in our 2020-2021 Bluejays Unite! document. Now, as we look forward to the 2021-22 academic year with a continued emphasis on keeping our community safe and healthy, we will require all faculty, staff, and students to submit verification of full vaccination for COVID-19 no later than Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. President VanAken shared this news in an email earlier today.
This decision was taken seriously, debated at various levels of the University, and was ultimately reached after much research and consideration. It was based on the recommendations of the COVID-19 Task Force and supported by the Academic Working Group, Faculty Council, Student Government Association Executive Board and Staff Council. Campus leadership also consulted with the University’s Board of Trustees COVID-19 Working Group and legal counsel. And finally, our plan is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College Health Association and the Restore Illinois Plan.
Vaccinations represent our best hope to enable a safe return to campus and to continue to learn and live together while maintaining a safer environment for our entire campus population. Our decision to require vaccinations is based on three principles:
- The health and safety of our community is our top priority.
- The science studying COVID-19 informs and guides our public health strategies.
- The wellbeing of our campus community should not be put at risk by personal preferences or indifference.
Put simply, our students, faculty and staff deserve to live and work in an environment where public health measures, guided by science and best practices, help keep all of us safer.
We plan to resume our in-person teaching and learning, co-curricular activities, dance and musical performances, lectures, athletic events and 150th anniversary celebration activities with the appropriate public health safeguards in place. We also believe that eliminating restrictions that have hampered our mental and social wellness will be good for all of us.
Requests for medical or religious exemptions will be considered, as required by law. Details on requesting an exemption will be provided soon. Unvaccinated individuals may be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing at their own expense and continue mask-wearing, along with the possibility of additional restrictions. Our goal with this requirement is to allow us to return to “normal” as much as possible.
The details regarding the process for submitting proof of your vaccination are available at elmhurst.edu/vaccineFAQ. If you have not received a vaccine at this point in time, we highly encourage you to do so.
We thank you in advance for your support and understanding as we prepare for the Fall Term. As always, please be safe and healthy. And let’s be kind to each other during these difficult times we live in.
The Elmhurst University COVID-19 Task Force