Monmouth University joins NJ schools requiring COVID-19 vaccines
Monmouth University has become the latest New Jersey college to require proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from students, staff and faculty to be on campus for the fall semester.
Masks and social distancing will also continue to be part of the policy at the West Long Branch campus, as a requirement in all classroom, lab and teaching spaces, as well as the library regardless of a person's vaccination status.
Individual faculty and support staff may require masks to be worn for meetings. Vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks outdoors.
Anyone planning to be on campus for the fall at the university must provide proof of vaccination by August 1 via the school's online health portal. The school will host a vaccination clinic on Wednesday, June 23 at the Stafford Student Center, offering both the Moderna (which is two doses for full vaccination) and Johnson & Johnson (single dose) vaccines.
Individuals can petition for a vaccination exemption on medical or religious grounds, or on the basis of the COVID-19 vaccine’s current emergency use authorization (EUA) status, according to the university's website.
Seton Hall also offers a similar exemption.
Those granted a vaccine exemption will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours in advance of moving in on campus, as well as take weekly COVID tests.
If an outbreak occurs on campus, students who are not vaccinated could be sent home, the school also has outlined.
The legality of employers and schools requiring COVID-19 vaccinations continues to remain a "gray area" amid the pandemic.
A federal judge bluntly ruled over the weekend that if employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital system don’t like the hospital's requirement for staff vaccination against COVID-19 that they can go work elsewhere, as reported by CBS News.
College students in-state already are required to be vaccinated against meningitis, hepatitis B and measles, mumps and rubella (either two MMR vaccines or two doses of measles vaccine and one dose of mumps and rubella vaccine).
At least some colleges only require the Hepatitis and MMR vaccines among students 30 and younger.
The three COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered in the U.S. are the first such wide-scale use of the FDA's emergency use option, which was created around 2004, as the country dealt with potential bio-terror threats.
Before any vaccine received EUA approval, federal officials brought the three-phase standards more into line with licensing regulations, including at least two months of follow-up after patients were considered fully vaccinated.
However, the unfamiliar territory of the emergency authorization has added another layer of anxiety among individuals and families who are vaccine hesitant.
Hospital employees and others have argued that such requirements are illegal because the emergency use authorization is not the same as final FDA approval.
Rutgers University was the first college in the country to implement the COVID vaccine requirement for on campus students.
The majority of colleges and universities in state then followed course, including The College of New Jersey and Princeton, Rider, Stockton, Fairleigh Dickinson, Montclair and Rowan Universities.
Stevens Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology also are requiring all students and staff to be be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Despite Gov. Phil Murphy ending the state's six-foot social distance requirements, Monmouth University has said it will try to create three-foot social distancing "whenever possible" indoors.
With previous reporting by Erin Vogt. Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ