UConn is ending the COVID immunization policy it adopted for Storrs and regional campus students during the pandemic, although it will continue to strongly encourage them to safeguard their health by keeping the vaccinations up to date.
The UConn Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to decommission the COVID-19 immunization requirement, which was adopted in June 2021 as the vaccine became more widely available and the University worked toward returning its residence halls, classrooms, and offices to full capacity.
Wednesday’s decision comes as COVID has transitioned to an endemic illness nationwide, meaning it is a constant presence now rather than spreading swiftly and stressing the health care system, as it was starting in early 2020.
“While the University continues to strongly recommend all students remain up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine, this recommendation mirrors Student Health and Wellness’ approach towards influenza vaccines, and it is proposed to align these public health approaches by decommissioning the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students,” UConn President Radenka Maric said in her recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
The change applies to all undergraduate and graduate students at the Storrs and regional campuses in Hartford, Waterbury, Avery Point, and Stamford. UConn Health maintains a separate policy for its student population.
UConn was among many colleges and universities nationwide that instituted the COVID vaccination requirement in 2021 once the immunizations started becoming more readily available. Compliance with the requirement was high from the start, quickly exceeding national and state averages.
The vaccinations, distancing measures, increases in online classes and services, decreases in housing and student density, frequent testing, and other strategies helped UConn continue to offer its full range of academics for student even in the depths of the pandemic.
Certain other immunization and screening requirements remain in effect for conditions such as measles, mumps, and other illnesses, but the COVID vaccination now joins influenza and some other conditions as recommended but not mandated.