The Maine Community College System announced Wednesday that it will continue to require on-campus students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but will no longer require booster shots.

On-campus students are still strongly encouraged to stay up-to-date on booster shots, the system said in a news release. The system has required students be vaccinated against COVID-19 since the fall of 2021, according to its website, and booster shots were required beginning in December 2021.

The shift to only encouraging booster shots is “based on input from medical professionals on the latest COVID-19 safety guidance,” the release stated. Any masking protocols will be local decisions, made by college presidents, allowing them to take local conditions into consideration.

“These protocols come at the end of a thorough and ongoing process that included medical professionals, data from state and federal health agencies, and dialogue with our community members,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System, in the release. “As ever, we are committed to adopting protocols that keep our community as safe as possible, and we will continue to regularly review both the protocols and the changing COVID landscape.”

The vaccination protocol does not apply to students taking classes online, who will not be entering campus buildings for any purpose. The updated protocol was approved by the board of trustees on Wednesday, and will remain in effect until June 30, 2023.

The system’s colleges are Central Maine Community College in Auburn; Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor; Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield; Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle; Southern Maine Community College in South Portland/Brunswick; and York County Community College in Wells.

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