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Cornell To Require Vaccinations For Fall Semester

ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) — Cornell University* will require students to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester.

The university said in an announcement Friday that, given New York’s projection to have doses available to all populations over the summer, class sizes will likely return to pre-pandemic normality as long as a majority of students are vaccinated. If less than 50 percent of the campus community is vaccinated by the beginning of the semester, classes and operations will reopen similar to the current posture with mixed instruction and less densely packed classrooms.

Beginning April 15, students, staff and faculty will be asked to indicate their vaccination status in an existing tracking system. Data on what percentage of the campus community is vaccinated will also be reflected on its COVID-19 dashboard.

Valid religious and medical exemptions will be honored. The college said it will be working on plans to coordinate vaccinations for any students who plan to arrive on campus in the fall and have not yet received a dose recognized by New York.

The announcement comes as the university is still under a “yellow alert” issued in mid-March following an uptick in COVID prevalence in its monitored community. The university said in a statement at the time the uptick was a result of negligence toward mask wearing and social distancing.

*Full Disclosure: Cornell University is a WSKG Underwriter

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.