As Quinnipiac University requires students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall 2021 semester, students who did not request an exemption nor submit proof of vaccination will face consequences, according to Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan’s email to The Chronicle.
Students who don’t comply with the mandate will face a weekly fee starting at $100 per week during the first two weeks. It will increase by $25 every two weeks up to a maximum of $200 a week. The fee can reach up to $2,275 for the entire semester.
The university will stop billing when students submit their proof of their first vaccination shot. If students become fully vaccinated by Sept. 14, they will not be charged.
Morgan said the university sent the email to around 600 students who have not yet uploaded any vaccination information.
Junior psychology major Danyella Kaplan said it is important for Quinnipiac to take vaccinations and protection against the virus seriously. While she said consequences for non-compliance are necessary, she questioned this move.
“Financial consequences do not seem to be the right answer that will actually have long-term benefits,” Kaplan said. “If students choose to be unvaccinated, having them take a class on the importance of practicing safety measures would be a more beneficial measure to take.”
The email states that students will lose access to Wi-Fi and the campus network if they fail to complete the vaccination mandate by Sept. 14.
As unvaccinated students are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing, there will be a $100 fee each time they miss a week.
These penalties and fees will be waived if unvaccinated students get at least one shot of vaccination by Aug. 25. However, they still need to participate in weekly testing until two weeks after their second dose and submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning.
Junior nursing major Jack Quinn said this policy is a great incentive to get more students vaccinated. He also said the university’s decision is different from what he thought would happen.
“I would have preferred it if Quinnipiac simply banned unvaccinated (without an exemption) students from returning, which is what myself and many of my friends thought was originally going to happen,” Quinn said.
Senior biology major Sydnie Bookman said these fines are not in place to “take away our freedom,” but rather to ensure the health and wellness of the community members. While she said she respects people’s right to make an informed decision for themselves regarding vaccination, Quinnipiac has the right to put these penalties in place.
“Deliberately ignoring these simple protocols that were agreed to upon coming to Quinnipiac this fall should be, in my opinion, fined as they can be detrimental to the health of others,” Bookman said.
She added that these protocols and fines should be expanded to vaccinated students as well because they can still be carrying the virus unknowingly.
“Both vaccinated and unvaccinated students could be jeopardizing the community’s health and forcing us back to Zoom University,” Bookman said. “And let’s be real, no matter where you stand regarding this vaccine, no one wants that.”
Despite the vaccine requirement, Quinnipiac reinstated its indoors mask mandate on Aug. 2, following the rise of COVID-19 delta variant cases.
In a Tuesday morning’s email to students, the university “strongly recommends” vaccinated students to obtain a negative PCR test within five days before returning. It is required for unvaccinated students. Students must isolate for 10 days if they test positive regardless of their vaccination status. However, vaccinated students don’t have to quarantine if they are a confirmed contact of a positive case unless they are symptomatic.
The university’s polling institute found on Aug. 5, that 72% of Americans have either received the vaccine or plan to receive it while 21% said they do not plan to get one. On the topic of the vaccine mandate at college campuses, 49% of Americans oppose universities requiring their students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine while 48% support it.