With unvaccinated Salisbury University students and employees now banned from SU’s campus, the institution has reached a crossroads as fellow University System of Maryland schools begin canceling student registrations to enforce the USM’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The University of Maryland has already disenrolled 79 students for failing to comply with the fall semester mandate after requiring students to submit proof of partial or full vaccination status or a religious or medical exemption by Aug. 16, according to The Diamondback.
Towson University will also begin disenrolling students without proof of vaccination or an approved exemption on Monday, per the university’s website. Non-compliant TU employees will be placed on unpaid leave and unable to return to campus or telework, which could eventually result in termination.
While SU has only barred unvaccinated students from campus, more USM institutions have begun to follow UMD’s precedent of disenrolling non-compliant students.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore has joined its USM counterparts in placing account holds on students who have not submitted proof of vaccination or received an exemption, according to the institution’s website.
One USM institution has taken a more lenient stance against the mandate, however, as Bowie State University has extended its vaccination deadline and is providing virtual course accommodations to unvaccinated students through Sept. 30.
The move is intended to “help as many students as possible to remain enrolled [in the university],” according to a BSU press release. Only students in compliance with the vaccination requirement will be permitted on the university’s campus during the extension.
University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Baltimore, Coppin State University and Frostburg State University have each joined SU in requiring compliance with the mandate for on-campus access, though none have publicly acknowledged the potential for disenrollment of students.
The USM’s most recent public communications regarding the vaccination mandate include that “[d]ocumentation — either of vaccination or of an approved exception — will be sufficient for an individual’s presence on campus,” but there is no direct mention of disenrollment as a possible consequence.
SU President Charles Wight said the university is moving “in a different direction than the one that we anticipated” with the ban on unvaccinated students due to updated campus vaccination data during his Aug. 31 COVID-19 briefing.
“A larger number of students than we anticipated, mostly those living off campus, are either unvaccinated or have yet to complete their consent form,” Wight said.
More than 90% of SU’s students, faculty and staff who have completed the university’s COVID-19 vaccination consent form are fully vaccinated, according to a recent Student Affairs email. Those who have not completed the consent form are also considered unvaccinated.
The exact number of non-compliant SU students potentially at risk of being disenrolled from the university has not been released. Wight has not said whether the university is considering disenrollment at this time.
For more information on SU’s coronavirus prevention protocols or to view the latest university COVID-19 test results, visit https://www.salisbury.edu/coronavirus/testing-info.aspx.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Salisbury University Public Relations Office.