Maine Maritime Academy will require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 this fall as the Delta variant continues to complicate the return of normal in-person learning for the nation’s maritime academies.
However, the deadline for students to be fully vaccinated has been set for October 1st, even though Fall semester classes are set to begin August 24, with students checking in as early as August 16th. The vaccine requirement will also only apply to students, with faculty, staff and visitors exempted.
“We were very much hoping to have a return to campus that resembled a traditional ‘back to school’ experience,” explains President William J. Brennan. “Unfortunately, the emergence of the Delta variant has complicated our plans and required continual adjustments in how we think, learn, and work.”
Guidance provided by the school says students are required to “complete the vaccination process” by October 1st and MMA says it will be hosting vaccination clinics where students will be able to get the vaccine, either Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer.
MMA noted that many of its students have already been required to have the vaccine by their host companies as part of their summer training. Similarly, over 80% of MMA employees have already verified their vaccination status, it said.
“Over the past many months, our stance has been to strongly encourage vaccination. So far, we’ve had great luck in getting folks on board with the vaccines and we’re truly very grateful for that. Still, the situation has changed, and we now feel that a vaccine requirement is a necessary next step in our fight against COVID-19,” said President Brennan.
Brennan also acknowledged that the school’s position might soon change in regard to employees.
“We are currently evaluating contractual obligations, but it is my hope that our employees recognize their responsibility to our community – and to our students in particular – and make their decision to get vaccinated without an employer or government mandate,” he said.
Other Maritime Academies
In requiring COVID-19 vaccination for students, MMA is the latest of the nation’s six state maritime academies and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to announce their COVID-19 policy as students prepare to return for Fall semester. COVID-19 policies vary from school to school.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s policy also requires full vaccination among students before returning to campus for in-person learning, but the requirement does not seem to extend to employees, although it is “expected” that all Massachusetts state university employees receive the vaccine.
SUNY Maritime College is requiring vaccinations of all students living in residence halls and all student-athletes before returning to campus for the fall 2021 term. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or more than two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
The California State University Maritime Academy is requiring all cadets, staff, and faculty to certify that they are fully vaccinated, with a deadline set for August 31. The campus is open to all authorized cadets, faculty, and staff who are required to follow Health & Safety protocols related to daily screening, face covering, social distancing, and proper hygiene.
Great Lakes Maritime Academy is requiring everyone to wear a mask while inside any one of the college’s buildings, regardless of vaccination status, as part of Northwestern Michigan College’s COVID-19 policy. Students and employees are not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it is highly recommended.
Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Galveston and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) do not have or have not announced any vaccine requirements.
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