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Thank you for keeping us safe

A photo of Sam the Ram in front of the Athletic Center.
Leighah Beausoleil / THE GATEPOST

By the Gatepost Editorial Board

On Sept. 23, FSU students who had not uploaded proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status to the Medicat portal as mandated were informed they risked unenrollment from their on-campus classes if they were not in compliance by Sept. 29.

On Wednesday, students who did not comply were informed by the Dean of Students that if they did not provide documentation of their status to the Medicat Portal by 11:59 p.m., they would be removed from their in-person classes by the end of the week.

If they had completed one dose, they could submit documentation through Medicat and follow the University’s weekly testing protocol until two weeks after their second dose to avoid being removed from their in-person classes.

We at The Gatepost agree with the University’s decision to unenroll students who chose not to comply with the vaccination mandate. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective by the CDC.

The FDA fully approved the Pfizer vaccine back in August. The Pfizer vaccine had previously been approved for emergency use.

Students were informed of the University’s decision to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in order to be on campus this fall in an April 26 email sent by President F. Javier Cevallos. In a May 12 email sent by the Dean of Students on the behalf of the Health Center, students were informed they must provide documentation of their vaccine, or medical or religious exemption, through Medicat by Aug. 1.

Students were given over three months to provide documentation of their status. As of Sept. 25, 101 students were still not in compliance with the mandate.

According to Dean of Students Meg Nowak Borrego, students were still allowed to submit

documentation past the Aug. 1 deadline because the University was understanding of the various factors at play when it came to getting vaccinated or obtaining an exemption.

Per the Dean of Students, one of the main disruptions in the process of enforcing the mandate has been some students simply had not uploaded their information to the Medicat portal, despite having already been vaccinated or exempted. As students, we understand that Medicat may present difficulties to students while uploading and it may be even more difficult for freshmen as they have never had to use it before.

There were also students who were labeled as having an in-person class, but were instead participating remotely. Some classes started this semester as in-person, but were then moved online. Other classes were labeled as hybrid, but do not have any in-person component.

There was no clear way for the University to decipher which students were actually in compliance.

While we stand with the University’s decision, we wish action could have been taken sooner. However, we understand the difficulty of enforcing guidelines for a situation the University has never experienced before – there were many unknown variables.

As a result of the Dean of Students’ correspondence with these “noncompliant” students, there are now only approximately 15 to 20 students who still remain at risk of unenrollment from in-person classes as of Sept. 30.

We believe the University has provided plenty of warning and time to those who remain noncompliant.

The University even provided two on-campus vaccination clinics Sept. 2 and 8. All three vaccines were available at the clinics, with the opportunity to receive a second dose if needed.

We want to thank the FSU administration for taking these steps to make our community safe for our faculty, staff, and students.

This mandate not only protects our community at FSU, but the friends and families of FSU members who are unable to get vaccinated.

We are hopeful that this mandate will also allow us to continue to be on campus as we have missed seeing Framingham State so lively with community members coming together for the first time since March of 2020.

This mandate will not only save our semester – it will save lives.

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