FSU Vaccination Requirement Announced


-Nick Twomey

On Monday, April 26, President Lapidus announced via email that Fitchburg State would be requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming fall semester. He stated that the nine presidents of the state university system have come to an agreement that “requiring COVID-19 vaccinations before the fall semester will be an important step in getting us closer to the safe and vibrant in-person experience we all desire”. Although he has stressed that there will be more information available in the coming weeks, and stated through the virtual town hall done with The Point that they will only require vaccinations if they get full approval from the FDA, this has left students in a divide on whether they agree with the decision or not. 

Some students have discussed a planned protest against the vaccinations, and a march on the president’s office in order to further stress their concerns about the various vaccines at this moment. Erin Quinlivan, a nursing major at Fitchburg State has expressed worry about the short, and long term effects of the vaccines, and said in a letter to President Lapidus, “requiring your students to get a brand-new vaccine without expecting any pushback is unrealistic. I know many people who already got the vaccine and I know many people who prefer to wait. Our opinions and thoughts about this vaccine should be respected”. Also, Jackolene Bertrand, another nursing student, has conveyed similar words in a different letter to President Lapidus. She has said, “If the school is mandating the vaccine, then they should be held legally responsible for any and all serious adverse effects”. These remarks are echoing with some throughout campus, and it remains to be seen if they will have any effect on the upcoming semester.

On the flip side of the coin, many students are welcoming a vaccine to help accelerate the process of returning to normal schooling, and help bring back the social life that they fell in love with at college. One student stated, “Most students will be vaccinated by the end of the summer anyways. I’m okay with anything that will help us get back to the way things were. I just want to be able to go do stuff again, and see my friends in classes”. This seems to be aligned with the popular reasons that people want mandatory vaccinations for the 2021 fall semester at Fitchburg State. 

This discourse is important to have around Fitchburg State, because it helps gauge the student body on what they believe regarding events that are happening in the world around them. Although there seems to be a divide between students over this issue, it is left in President Lapidus’ hands to help determine a way that everyone can return to school in a manner where they feel safe and comfortable.