Colby College officials have yet to decide whether they will require students and staff members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester. For the current academic year, on-campus students have gone through a medical protocol to maintain their health and keep the coronavirus under control. Above, Miller Library at the Waterville campus. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

WATERVILLE — Colby College officials said Thursday they had yet to decide whether to require students and staff members be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to the Waterville campus for the fall semester.

Administrators at other Maine colleges — including Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Bates College in Lewiston, College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and St. Joseph’s College in Standish — have announced they will require vaccinations prior to the fall semester.

Bates was the latest to do so, after announcing Tuesday it will not allow students to return to campus in the fall unless vaccinated.

The University of Maine System has also not announced a requirement, but officials said they strongly encourage vaccinations.

In response to a request for comment on whether Colby will require vaccinations, college officials issued a statement that included the following:

“At the current time Colby is not requiring vaccinations for students, faculty, or staff but we are strongly encouraging members of our community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and to follow the Maine CDC guidelines related to the vaccination program. Whether members of our community have been vaccinated or not, we are asking them to continue to follow the protocols that have allowed Colby to create a healthy and safe environment. As for requiring vaccinations next fall semester, a decision has not yet been made.”

Colby officials said it was possible students would be required to be vaccinated for the 2021-22 academic year, subject to limited exceptions, such as medical or religious reasons.

Like some colleges nationwide, Colby welcomed back its 2,000 students for in-person, full-time studies last fall, after implementing a $10 million health plan that included testing for students and faculty and staff members.

The college still experienced some positive cases, particularly after winter break, prompting officials to ramp up testing.

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