The University of Maine System has barred 217 students from campus and in-person classes for failure to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or receive an exemption.

Of the approximately 25,500 students attending in-person classes on one of the system’s campuses, the 217 who did not get immunized by the Oct. 15 deadline or receive an exemption make up less than 1 percent of those taking classes on campus. So about 99 percent of campus students either got the vaccine or received an exemption on religious or medical grounds. An additional 505 students who requested and received an exemption are online-only.

Dan Demeritt, spokesman for the University of Maine System, said on Saturday that many of the 217 may have disenrolled from college, dropping out of school for a variety of reasons unrelated to vaccines, such as taking time out from school to work or to attend a different college.

Demeritt said students who wish to get their shots and return to campus can still do so.

“If a student will work with us to come into compliance and can successfully complete a semester, we will absolutely support them with that,” Demeritt said.

Of the exemptions granted that were not for remote students, 692 were for religious reasons and 57 were for medical reasons. Those who receive exemptions must submit to weekly testing if they are on campus.

“People are getting vaccinated and it’s awesome,” Demeritt said. “We’re safer because of it.”

On Friday, the University of Maine System reported 37 active cases of COVID-19 among more than 30,000 students, faculty and staff, including five new cases.

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