Vaccination requirement extended to faculty, staff

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Photo: Alec Klusza

A COVID-19 vaccination site

By Camilo Fonseca, News Editor

Emerson faculty and staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall, in an extension of the college’s previous directive which applied only to students.

The requirement comes over three months after the college first mandated vaccinations for all students as part of the shift to in-person classes; at that time, faculty and staff were “expected,” but not required, to receive their shots. It also comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts — largely among the unvaccinated population — caused in part by the spread of the Delta variant.

In recent days, cases have reached highs not seen since early May, after several weeks where daily case totals fell well below 100 thanks to Massachusetts’ vaccination campaign.

“We have determined, based on information and guidance from our local health experts and city and state government officials, that widespread COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect the health and safety of the Emerson community,” read a July 13 email that faculty members received from Interim President William Gilligan. “Therefore, like students, all faculty and staff members must be vaccinated before returning to our Boston and Los Angeles campuses.”

Assistant Vice President for Campus Life Erik Muurisepp, who serves as Emerson’s “COVID Lead,” could not be reached for comment.

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Emerson’s decision mirrors steps taken by other Boston-area institutions to curb community spread of the virus. Harvard University, Tufts University, and Suffolk University have required all faculty and staff to be vaccinated since late spring, while Boston University moved to do so on July 19.