Aurora Caraballo
Equinox Staff

Keene State and the other three University Systems of New Hampshire schools are currently not requiring their students or staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They are, however, strongly encouraging students to be vaccinated.

According to the Keene Sentinel, Keene State has not yet made the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement for students and staff because all three shots that are authorized in the U.S.. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were only approved by the FDA under ‘emergency use authorization.’

This requirement may change as we continue through the summer and into the Fall 2021 semester. As more vaccines become available and more time goes on, colleges throughout the United States have to consider if they will or can make receiving the vaccine a requirement. If this does become a requirement to attend Keene State, the school believes that it would apply to all USNH schools: UNH Durham, Plymouth State University and the Concord-based Granite State College.

Personally, making the vaccine a requirement to attend the college would make me feel more comfortable. Not only would I know that I would be safe and vaccinated, but everyone else including my friends would also be safe.

However, I do understand both sides of the argument. Some people do not get vaccines as part of their cultural beliefs and although that would be unfair for all of the other students who needed to get the vaccine, it would be unfair to the people following their cultural beliefs to make them get a vaccine.

This requirement could be helpful on so many levels considering Keene State wants to have a fully in-person semester this coming fall. If everyone who is in the classroom is vaccinated, there is a smaller likelihood that people at the college would catch the virus, limiting the number of positives, spread and people who need to be isolated or quarantined. The school would need to spend less money on testing and isolation beds since the chances of anyone on campus testing positive would be so limited.

I believe that requiring a COVID-19 vaccine could also negatively affect enrollment rates. There are people in the world who believe that this pandemic is a hoax and that you should not be wearing masks, social distancing or getting the vaccine. This could widely affect students who have family that are part of this group. They might not let you receive the vaccine and then you would not be able to attend college.

Overall, this topic has so many different viewpoints and opinions that I believe this could be debated by the college forever. The school wants to look out for their students’ health and well-being, but they also do not want to lose enrollment and other possible students who would like to attend Keene State and become an Owl. I think this comes down to what would be best for everyone involved and if they would even be able to get this approved on time to start this coming fall.


Aurora Caraballo can be contacted at:

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