Leadership at Cornell University announced that students and staff must be vaccinated in order to return to campus in the fall.
In a press release, university President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced that Cornell would become the next school to make a return-to-campus contingent upon vaccination.
“With the recent announcements of expanded vaccine eligibility in New York and other states, and increasing vaccine production, it is likely that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer,” the email reads. “Accordingly, Cornell intends to require vaccination for students returning to Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses for the fall semester.”
According to the New York Post, vaccine exceptions will be made for individuals with religious and medical exemptions.
Cornell believes that the vaccination efforts will allow the school to return to in-person classroom instruction, though it made no mention of whether in-person learning will require students and staff to wear face masks.
On March 25, Rutgers University in New Jersey became the first school to mandate vaccination of students and staff. More universities are expected to follow suit.
Cornell’s announcement comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that residents above the age of 16 will be eligible for the vaccine beginning April 6.
Cuomo also announced that New Yorkers will be required to show “vaccine passports” — proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine — to re-enter society. The so-called “Excelsior Pass” launched on April 2.
The Daily Wire reported:
“Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app,” said a press release about the program. “Each pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.”
The Biden administration is reportedly working on a nation-wide coronavirus vaccine passport in coordination with businesses that have indicated that they will require proof of vaccination for people to enter their business.
According to a report from The Washington Post, vaccine passport developers intend to create a digital version of the passport. The digital version “could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.” The vaccine passport idea is expected to face “significant hurdles” surrounding data privacy and ensuring that passports cannot be counterfeited.
One state has already outlawed vaccine passports. On April 2, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he signed an executive order banning “vaccine passports” in the state.
“Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports,” DeSantis tweeted. “The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon.”