Brown to require student vaccinations for fall semester

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Brown University on Tuesday joined a growing number of colleges that will require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning for in-person classes next fall.

“Starting in the Fall 2021 semester, Brown will require COVID-19 vaccines for all undergraduate, graduate and medical students who will be on campus or engage in any level of in-person instruction,” Christina Paxson, president of the Ivy League school, wrote in a letter to the campus community posted online.

Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed.

The university is still weighing whether to require employees to be vaccinated. That decision is expected in the summer.

The Providence school anticipates a return to a more traditional pre-pandemic academic experience for the 2021-22 school year, including standard occupancy for student residences, and expanded dining and recreation options on campus, she said.

“This year has been difficult for so many members of our community as the months of this pandemic have stretched on, and I know we all look forward to a greater return to normal,” Paxson wrote. “Although aspects of our lives will continue to be influenced by public health considerations for quite some time, I am looking toward next year with a sense of optimism.”

Roger Williams University in Rhode Island last week announced that it would require all students to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus next fall. Northeastern University in Boston made a similar announcement Tuesday.

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MORE VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS

Rhode Island on Tuesday made an additional 7,300 COVID-19 vaccine appointments available at the state’s vaccine signup website.

The appointments are for state-run mass vaccination sites at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and in Cranston, and for new regional sites in Westerly, Johnston and East Providence.

“I am glad to be starting off the new week by expanding vaccine eligibility to Rhode Islanders 50 years and older,” Gov. Daniel McKee said in a statement. “We’re moving quickly to build out our capacity and make vaccines accessible to all Rhode Island adults when our supply increases.”

The state’s vaccine preregistration system is also launching this week. Rhode Islanders can preregister at the Vaccine Interest Notification List.

When an appointment opens up for someone who has pre-registered and who is eligible, a notification will be sent to that person via email, text message or phone call with a one-time use link. Appointments will be for a set date and a specific location, though there will be some flexibility for the exact time.

Notifications will start Wednesday.

More than 262,000 people in the state, or about 25% of the total population, have already been fully vaccinated, according to state Department of Health numbers released Tuesday. More than 378,000 people in the state have received at least one dose.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT NUMBERS

The Rhode Island Department of Health on Tuesday reported another 370 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three more virus-related fatalities.

There have now been almost 140,000 confirmed cases and 2,632 deaths from the disease in the state. The department said it reduced the total number of deaths by two because those victims were found to be residents of other states.

The state’s new cases per 100,000 population by week, and new hospitalizations by week, both updated every Tuesday, have both gone up in the past seven days. The new cases went up slightly from 269 to 270, but the hospitalizations jumped from 122 to 163.

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