Waubonsee Community College will not require student COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

SUGAR GROVE – Just days after the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board recommended all state colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning this fall, Waubonsee Community College on Wednesday announced such inoculations will not be mandatory.

According to a July 19 joint news release from IBHE and ICCB, the guidance “follows recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.”

“We are strongly encouraging universities to require vaccination to protect their campus and local communities as they bring students back for a full campus experience” IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro stated in the release. “We urge students to continue on their path through postsecondary education. Now more than ever a college degree or credential is the path to a better future. We know many things have been difficult during the pandemic. Students should feel confident campuses will be safe when they return and know there are resources available to help them.”

However, the release also gave community colleges such as Waubonsee more autonomy when making vaccine requirement decisions.

“This updated guidance provides significant flexibility for community colleges as they consider their own local context, allowing them to fully reopen in the fall while also keeping the safety and well-being of their students, faculty and staff,” ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham said in the release.

Waubonsee spokeswoman Amanda Geist said in an email that the guidance recommending mandated vaccines was geared toward public and private universities, which does not include community colleges.

“The [IBHE and ICCB] continue to encourage all institutions of higher education to provide information to promote vaccine trust and confidence and address vaccine hesitancy,” she stated. “Given these newly issued guidelines, Waubonsee will not mandate vaccines at this time. We believe the science proves that vaccines are safe and effective in not only protecting against COVID-19 but reducing its severity and limiting its transition.”

She also stated that the school will continue to monitor local COVID-19 metrics and “make adjustments as necessary.”