BELOIT — Beloit College is requiring its students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus for the 2021-22 school year.
Those who provide proof of vaccination will not have to wear masks or go through regular testing for the virus.
In an open letter to the community, Beloit College President Scott Bierman said COVID-19 would “remain a reality,” and will force the college to continue to have safety measures in place, although masks will not be required for fully-vaccinated individuals.
“We are confident of our community’s ability to navigate challenges with agility and creativity. Together, we will take any precautions that remain necessary, and adapt quickly to changing local, national, and global conditions,” Bierman wrote in the letter.
Students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine if they are designated as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff will need to attend regular testing, quarantine if designated a close contact of a positive case, wear masks, and follow physical distancing guidelines.
“We are confident that Beloit’s spirit of ‘self-care is community care’ will allow us to succeed in keeping our community safe, in-person, and as close to ‘normal’ as possible,” Bierman continued.
Bierman said it was the college’s goal to have “nearly all” of the Beloit College community vaccinated by the fall ahead of classes starting on Aug. 23.
Also in the letter, Bierman acknowledged that some won’t get vaccinated due to “medical or religious reasons, or strong philosophical objections.”
“Students with questions about exemptions should contact the Health and Wellness Center and employees should contact Human Resources,” Bierman wrote.
International students who are unable to get to campus because of travel or visa restrictions will receive assistance to allow their enrollment to continue and remain valid. A subcommittee of the college’s COVID-19 task force dedicated to international students is considering access to courses, housing, travel, and vaccinations, as well as lobbying federal representatives to free up visa requirements to ease travel to the United States.
Beloit College will have in-person learning for the upcoming school year with the traditional semester calendar and breaks.
Anyone with questions or concerns about vaccinations at the college should email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meanwhile, The University of Wisconsin System, which includes UW-Whitewater, encourages vaccines, but will not require COVID-19 vaccination, according to UW Media Relations Director Mark Pitsch.
“There is no change to President (Tommy) Thompson’s position that vaccines are encouraged for UW System students but not required,” Pitsch said. “We continue to work with our universities to encourage students to receive a vaccine.”
Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) also is taking a similar approach to the UW System.
“We continue to encourage employees and students to access the free vaccine via the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Community Based Vaccine Clinic located on our Central Campus in Janesville,” said BTC Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Thompson.
The clinic is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m.—7 p.m., and accepts walk-ins and is vaccinating ages 12 and up. Individuals 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Per DHS data updated on Monday, 45.3% of Rock County residents have received one dose and 37.4% have completed the vaccination series.