Posted May 27, 2021

Lafayette is requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1.

The strength of a residential college experience lies in our ability to learn, work, and live together as a close-knit community. After working together this spring, we know that the types of experiences you want most can only be provided if students are vaccinated. 

To facilitate our return to a normal campus experience, effective Aug. 1, any student enrolled at Lafayette must show proof of vaccination. Students will be required to upload a completed copy of their vaccine card to their health portal in order to move into their residence hall assignments and attend classes. The only exceptions are students with a medical or religious exemption approved by the College.

Students represent a unique group by living in close quarters, spending significant time with each other. This is one reason vaccines previously required for students were not required for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, but they are highly encouraged to do so. The College will continue to evaluate CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines and will implement additional safety measures and policies concerning COVID-19 prevention should that be necessary. 

Vaccination has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of COVID-19 and provides the ability to move beyond the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccination of students, faculty, and staff will contribute to community-wide immunity to this virus and help us ensure a full in-person living, learning, and working experience.



Vaccines & Documentation

Why is Lafayette requiring all students to be COVID-19 vaccinated?

This enables the most full resumption of activities and for students to be able to interact in ways that provide the living and learning opportunities cherished by everyone in a close-knit academic community.

When does the COVID-19 vaccine requirement go into effect?

In order to come onto campus in the fall, students must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file with Bailey Health Center by Aug. 1. You’re encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

How do I submit my vaccine documentation?

Scan or take a picture of the front of your completed COVID-19 vaccination record card. Be sure your name, date of birth, and completed vaccine record can be read. Upload your scanned card to the student health portal if you have not already done so.

  • This includes incoming first-year or transfer students who have submitted their medical record form but did not include COVID-19 vaccine information.
  • Incoming first-year or transfer students filling out the medical records form for the first time should include their COVID-19 vaccine documentation along with the remaining required vaccines.
  • The deadline for submission of COVID-19 vaccine documentation is Aug. 1.

What should I do if I have lost my immunization card?

Contact the medical office or pharmacy where you received your vaccination and request documentation of it. This must include manufacturer, lot number, date of administration, and location.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to take summer classes, do summer research in person, or live in campus housing this summer?

No, but students staying on campus this summer are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Are students under 18 years of age exempt from this requirement?

No, as they are eligible for at least one of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. They are not exempt from the vaccine requirement.

Who will have access to information about my vaccination status?

Your vaccine record will not be shared with anyone beyond Bailey Health Center. Confirmation of your compliance with the immunization requirement will be shared with the Dean of Students Office.

Why does Lafayette require student vaccination since this age group is considered lower risk for the most serious outcomes of COVID-19?

The best path to the activities cherished by members of a close-knit academic community relies on widespread vaccination for COVID-19. The College also is responsible for significant travel in and out of the Lehigh Valley, and if large numbers of students remain unvaccinated this could pose a health risk to our surrounding communities.

Will COVID-19 vaccination be required for students beyond the 2021-22 academic year?

We do not know the trajectory of COVID-19 in the future and will revisit vaccine requirements as new information becomes available.



Will Lafayette approve exemptions from the vaccine requirement?

In order to afford students access to the valuable experiences unique to a residential college as well as the least restriction with travel and engaging in activities outside the campus, Lafayette requires all students to be fully vaccinated, with two limited exceptions:

  • Medical:  To request a medical exemption to the immunization requirement, a student must provide to Bailey Health Center a written statement signed by a licensed medical health care professional not related to the student whose specialty is appropriate to the medical condition and appropriate documentation of the diagnosis and treatment that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccine or other immunizations.
  • Religious beliefTo request a  religious exemption to the immunization requirement, a student must provide to Bailey Health Center a signed written statement detailing the basis of their religious objection to receiving immunization. This statement must also include documentation from the student’s religious organization supporting the basis of their faith that is contrary to the use of vaccines.

I don’t meet the exemption requirements, but I don’t want the vaccine for other reasons. Can I sign a waiver to decline the vaccine so that I can be on campus this fall?

To maximize protection of the health and safety of the campus community, Lafayette will only approve exemptions for a verified medical contraindication or a bona fide religious belief or practice that conflicts with the COVID-19 immunization requirement. General philosophical or moral objection to the COVID-19 vaccine will not suffice.

If I live off campus do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes, the requirement applies to all students learning on campus.


Difficulty Getting the Vaccine

Should an international student or U.S. citizen currently living in another country wait to arrive at Lafayette to get vaccinated?

Students should be vaccinated as soon as possible in the interest of their own health. Those coming from abroad who did not have access to WHO-approved vaccines will be vaccinated after arrival on campus.

If I am fully vaccinated but two weeks have not passed since my final dose by the time classes start, can I still come to campus?

Yes, but you will need to coordinate your arrival through the health center to be certain of whether any pre- or post-arrival testing is necessary.

Will Lafayette offer a vaccine clinic at move-in for students who were unable to be vaccinated prior to arrival?

The College does not plan to offer on-campus access to vaccines. International students who did not have access to a WHO-authorized vaccine will be connected with local vaccine resources.

Will Lafayette accept evidence of antibodies in lieu of vaccination?

No, vaccination by Aug. 1 is still required.


Vaccine Safety

Will the current COVID-19 vaccines place me at greater risk because of their approval under an emergency use authorization?

All COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States have been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The emergency use authorization (EUA) designation of the COVID-19 vaccines facilitated their use during a public health emergency. EUA is only granted if safety and efficacy standards are met based on substantial testing and if the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risks when used appropriately. The FDA is expected to move the COVID-19 vaccine from emergency-use status to full approval this summer.

Can I wait to be vaccinated after the vaccine is fully approved by the FDA?

The timing for full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines is not completely predictable, although at least one vaccine has already filed for this status. Students who delay vaccination until the FDA issues full authorization risk a delay in their return to campus. Waiting for full approval does not provide exemption from the Aug. 1 vaccination deadline.


Campus Life This Fall

If I am vaccinated, will I still be required to wear a mask on campus?

It is unlikely that widespread masking policies will remain in place in August, but the disease trajectory has proven difficult to predict over the past 16 months. Lafayette will continue to follow guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control on policies to mitigate risk of the spread of COVID-19.

What policies will be relaxed to allow vaccinated students to more fully enjoy the campus experience?

The object of widespread vaccination is to return to as close to a normal experience as possible. Vaccinated students will be able to travel freely, will be exempt from quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, will be exempt from testing, and will be able to experience most social activities in the least restrictive manner.

If I am approved for an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, what health and safety protocols will I have to follow?

You would be required to:

  • Participate in routine COVID-19 testing 
  • Obtain permission for overnight travel off campus
  • Quarantine or isolate if identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19

Will I know which students on campus are vaccinated and who has an exemption from the vaccination requirement?

No. However, no student will be permitted on campus unless the vaccine requirement is met or a documented exemption is approved.

Why are faculty and staff not required to have the vaccine?

Congregate housing settings have proven to carry a higher risk to the spread of many airborne diseases due in part to the numbers of individuals sharing enclosed spaces for long periods of time. On the other hand, classroom settings have proven to be a lower risk for transmission.

Faculty and staff do not live in the types of residential settings students do. The College reserves the right to amend its policy on employee vaccination in the future, however. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine, and many continue to take advantage of increased local vaccine availability.



I recently enrolled but do not want the vaccine and no longer wish to attend Lafayette. Will my deposit be refunded?

Please contact the Office of Admissions with questions about enrollment.



Will the College offer remote courses for students in the fall semester who are unwilling or unable to be vaccinated this summer?

As a residential college, Lafayette’s primary learning environment is face to face, and the College has been eager to return to this mode of learning. Lafayette is planning for fall courses to be delivered in person. There are no current plans for any courses to be offered remotely this fall.  

Will the College offer remote courses for students in quarantine or isolation housing?

Lafayette is planning for as normal of a semester as possible and will not guarantee that courses will be available online. However, the College will assist quarantining or isolating students with their academic progress just as it would in other health-related circumstances.