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Cornell University to Require Coronavirus Vaccination for Students

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University said Friday it will require students to be vaccinated this fall as it makes plans for in-person instruction.

The vaccination requirement covers the Ivy League school's main campus in New York's Finger Lakes region as well as the Cornell Tech campus in New York City and its agricultural college in Geneva. 

"Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but the expectation will be that our campuses and classrooms will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all," according to a statement from President Martha E. Pollack and Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff.

Cornell has more than 23,000 students overall, with 22% coming from other countries.

Rutgers University, in New Jersey, and Roger Williams University, in Rhode Island, have made similar announcements.

Citing expanded eligibility and increasing production, university officials said students should be able to be vaccinated before the fall. Students who return this fall without a valid vaccination will be expected to be vaccinated as soon after their arrival as possible. 

Cornell administrators anticipate that enough students will be vaccinated to make possible in-person instruction without a routinely scheduled online option. But they acknowledged uncertainty about conditions this fall. 

If less than 50% of the student population has been vaccinated by the beginning of the semester, Cornell said it would begin the semester in "de-densified" classrooms, with a mix of instruction modes similar to this semester. 

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