Johns Hopkins University is the latest of more than a dozen universities across the country to require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, unless they have a health or religious exemption before coming back to campus in the fall.
They aren't the only Maryland university considering the move.
“I was able to get vaccinated. I think it’s very important to keep everyone safe. Obviously there’s a lot of people here,” one student at the University of Maryland said.
At UMD, many students said they support getting vaccinated, but some were reluctant to call for a mandate. The university system has not yet made a decision, but encourages all faculty, students and staff to get the shot.
"I’d feel more safe if everyone is vaccinated. It keeps the numbers down. But I mean, I have no control over that. But if the school has everyone vaccinated, that’s good with me,” another student said.
The head of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Lynn Pasquerella, said many schools will be announcing plans in the coming weeks. She said leaders have a lot to consider, whether it’s a mandate, proof of immunization, on campus housing and international students who may not have access to the vaccine.
“The last thing campus leaders want is to have another surge of COVID-19 on their campuses and a forced shutdown. And we know with the different variants that are appearing now, globally, that this is a risk,” Pasquerella said.
The university just announced that graduation ceremonies will be held in person on campus next month, a change from last year. They’ll be held at Maryland Stadium on May 21 and the ceremonies will be livestreamed as well.
Students are also supporting that move, as long as it’s safe.
"I’m excited for that, to finally get to walk, family, everything, so it’s gonna be fun,” another student said.