Columbia University will end its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in May 2023, according to a recent announcement.
Out of the eight Ivy League universities, Columbia is the first to make a decision on vaccine mandates after President Biden declared that the state of national emergency initiated during the pandemic will end on May 11.
Provost Mary C. Boyce, Executive Vice President of Health and Biomedical Sciences Katrina Armstrong, and Senior Executive Vice President Gerald M. Rosberg issued the announcement that Columbia dropped the mandate for students, faculty, and other members of the university community.
Proof of vaccination–including for visitors to the university–is no longer needed, though the university community is still strongly encouraged to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Positive tests for COVID-19 do not have to be submitted to Columbia. Instead, the university community is encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and the advice of a physician after testing positive.
Columbia cited the declining case counts in New York City and nationwide as part of its justification for lifting its vaccine mandate.
In New York, responses to Biden’s declaration on the state of emergency are mixed. The Rochester Institute of Technology joined Columbia by recently dropping its vaccine mandate, while the State University System of New York (SUNY) still requires them for students but not faculty, according to the New York Post.
During the fall 2022 semester, colleges and universities engaged in a fierce debate over whether they should still require masking and vaccination as campuses continued policies that exceeded CDC guidelines.
That same semester, colleges and universities also required students to receive booster vaccines, sometimes issuing punishments such as barring noncompliant students from enrollment or expelling them.
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