Simmons updates COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Megan Sutherland, Managing Editor

Simmons University will no longer require the COVID-19 vaccination or boosters for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors starting May 19, 2023, according to the University’s website.

The website states that this change comes in recognition of the public health emergency declared by the federal government and Commonwealth of Massachusetts ending on May 11, 2023. It goes on to state that Simmons still strongly recommends people stay up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations.

Sherani Hansa, a senior studying Political Science and Literature, worries about how this might affect students who are immunocompromised or who have family members that are immunocompromised. “Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and safe, and not have to worry about bringing COVID home or inflicting it on others.”

“I think that [no longer requiring the COVID-19 vaccine] is weird,” Rainey McGady, a sophomore studying Economics, echoes, “Not requiring the vaccine opens the door for [COVID-19] to be a problem.”

First-year Hayfa Abulhamayel disagrees, “I feel like that’s a good move.” Abulhamayel is vaccinated and is studying nursing. “People should just be open to what they want to do and shouldn’t be forced to be vaccinated.”

Director of Health and Wellness and Chief Wellness Officer Beth Grampetro wrote in a statement to the Voice “While this does not mean that COVID is no longer present, it does recognize that we have greatly reduced the spread of the disease and that we now have tools to treat and prevent potential infections.” In addition to recommending the COVID-19 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine, Grampetro writes “we also strongly encourage people to stay home when they’re sick and to wear a mask to protect themselves and/or others around them. We can show care for people in our community who are immunocompromised or managing other chronic health conditions by staying home when we’re sick, choosing to wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces or when asked by someone more vulnerable, and considering accommodations for gatherings such as virtual options or gathering outdoors when possible.”