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SchoolWatch: RCC not requiring students or staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19

While Oregon's four-year universities have largely made vaccination a requirement on campus, the opposite is true of community colleges in the state.

Posted: Sep 14, 2021 12:34 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2021 5:21 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — With less than a week to go before fall classes begin at Rogue Community College, the school's policy will not require students or faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to appear on campus.

"RCC joins all community colleges in Oregon in encouraging employees and students to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 to protect themselves, the RCC learning environment, and our communities at large," the community college's COVID-19 policy reads. "Likewise, we join the majority of Oregon community colleges in not mandating vaccines for employees or students."

As of now, RCC is indeed following the trend among Oregon's higher education institutions. While Oregon's public universities adopted vaccination requirements early — Southern Oregon University instituted one in May — community colleges have largely avoided making similar mandates, Lane Community College representing a significant exception.

RCC says that it will prioritize sharing resources and information about the vaccine's availability and efficacy, and vaccination clinics will be available at the Table Rock and Redwood campuses on Wednesday during the student Welcome Days. Masks are required indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces due to the statewide mandate, and disposable masks will be available at RCC as needed.

Under Governor Kate Brown's subsequent vaccine mandates, COVID-19 vaccinations are required for healthcare workers and K-12 educators. Broadly speaking, this does not apply to community college faculty, except where they overlap with certain healthcare programs or if they also work in a K-12 setting. More information about what RCC programs would be covered by the mandate can be found on their website under the vaccination policy.

At present, even Portland Community College has resisted implementing a vaccination requirement for students or staff, citing the different landscape of vaccine access and hesitancy in historically disadvantaged communities, and indicating that mandates could be ineffective.

"Based on surveys, vaccination rates for PCC employee and student communities far exceed 70%, the vaccination target rate set by Governor Kate Brown," PCC said in a June statement. "The vaccination rate will never be 100%. Oregon law allows individuals to request exemption from vaccination requirements for personal, religious, or medical reasons. As such, some members of the college’s community would not be vaccinated, even if it were required."

PCC's Board of Directors has since considered implementing a vaccine mandate, but has yet to follow through.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324571

Reported Deaths: 3709
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52543645
Washington35987280
Marion33757401
Clackamas27506277
Lane24978256
Jackson21483271
Deschutes17521104
Umatilla13107129
Linn1105390
Douglas11044207
Josephine8843175
Yamhill7781102
Klamath669695
Polk644272
Malheur498769
Benton479530
Coos439772
Columbia339039
Jefferson329748
Union287738
Lincoln286830
Wasco250139
Clatsop226026
Crook224939
Tillamook186123
Baker183124
Morrow171221
Curry169217
Hood River167235
Harney90518
Grant8899
Lake7518
Wallowa55812
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4698504

Reported Deaths: 68767
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145515526035
Riverside3618524864
San Diego3547324054
San Bernardino3504055545
Orange3179985409
Sacramento1526762142
Santa Clara1418101852
Fresno1383231939
Kern1378841540
Alameda1173871328
San Joaquin990131633
Ventura986241138
Contra Costa96871924
Stanislaus820391262
Tulare74793904
San Mateo52770612
San Francisco52580622
Monterey49872571
Solano44658314
Santa Barbara43571505
Merced40058548
Sonoma39799384
Placer37312370
Imperial34644756
Kings30713293
San Luis Obispo28759319
Madera22239263
Butte22019238
Shasta21684291
Santa Cruz20334214
Yolo19462239
Marin17258242
El Dorado16291132
Sutter13297155
Napa1242695
Yuba945564
Nevada863985
Tehama856088
Humboldt851494
San Benito716170
Mendocino708182
Lassen660127
Tuolumne630193
Lake620295
Amador505559
Glenn411330
Siskiyou410442
Calaveras355570
Del Norte348237
Colusa294418
Inyo171339
Mono15295
Plumas12976
Mariposa106213
Trinity75810
Modoc6288
Sierra1980
Unassigned1430
Alpine1010
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