ONTARIO, Oregon — Some public universities in Oregon will require students and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) in Ontario said it won’t issue a mandate.
Instead, the college is encouraging students and faculty to get vaccinated.
“Our policy is encouraging and supporting our students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated. We’ve had vaccine clinics on our campus and our nursing students have helped with that, and right now, it’s still a choice," said Abby Lee, TVCC'S Public Information Director.
Oregon Institute of Technology and Eastern Oregon University are two of the institutions across the state that have announced they will require COVID-19 vaccinations for the fall semester. EOU said students studying remote online and not participating in activities on campus aren't require to get vaccinated.
“Ultimately, as with every decision related to the pandemic, we are focused on protecting the safety and health of the EOU community, and returning to a highly engaged, in-person, on-campus experience that upholds our mission and shared values,” said EOU President Tom Inkso. “We remain committed to providing all students with the greatest educational opportunities possible in preparation for success after graduation.”
Lee said the campus won't be requiring students or staff to get the shot.
“Unless we are mandated by a law or an executive order, we are going to offer that choice to our campus," Lee said.
Oregon state leaders and health officials continue to encourage Oregonians to get vaccinated. On Friday, Gov. Kate Brown said the statewide vaccination rate has reached 67%.
"That means we have approximately 93,000 Oregonians left to vaccinate to hit our 70% goal. We are so close to fully reopening our economy," Brown said.
TVCC plans to offer in-person classes next fall semester.
“A few things are still in flux, but our goal is to have in-person classes again like we did this entire year," Lee said. "We might still have some spacing requirements, such as social distancing. Whatever we need to do we are going to do. Our students and faculty and staff have been incredibly compliant and resilient to keep our classes open and our campus safe.”
The college recently celebrated its first drive-thru graduation ceremony on Friday.
Lee said student enrollment numbers are looking bright for the upcoming school semester.
“Enrollment is really looking positive for fall and part of it is due to our ability to stay open this whole year. Some students didn’t come with us because they were concerned about having to be remote or having to be online. Treasure Valley Community College is a place that is going to work really hard to stay open to make sure they have that in-person choice and a lot of students wanted that," Lee said.