Northwestern University will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time classes start in the fall, or they “will not be able to register” for 2021-22 courses.

Exceptions will be allowed for religious and medical reasons, but otherwise, all NU students will have to receive either the one-shot or two-shot dosage of any vaccine approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization.

In a website posting to the university community, Provost Kathleen Hagerty and two other NU administrators say “requiring students to be vaccinated will best support the health of our community and position us for in-person classroom and co-curricular activities for the Fall Term.”

Vaccinations for faculty and staff, while encouraged, will not be mandated “at this time,” Hagerty says. Most NU COVID transmissions, the letter notes, are among students.

All students, NU says, must continue COVID testing through the remainder of the current term, whether they have been vaccinated or not. The University says more than 100,000 tests have been administered over the past two-and-a-half months. NU estimates that more than 75% of students are either fully or partially vaccinated.

The most recent NU COVID positivity rate was 0.09%, for the week ending May 9.

Students and staff can email for questions about signing up for vaccination appointments.

Northwestern joins a growing number of universities nationwide, including both Loyola and DePaul in Chicago, which are requiring students to be vaccinated for the upcoming school year.

Most Northwestern classes have been held remotely since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, 2020, although more courses have been offered in person, all or in part (hybrid), as the pandemic has lessened and vaccinations have increased.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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