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Students and faculty reflect on vaccine mandate

Photo via Scout Archive.

Bradley sent an email on Aug. 27 stating that all students and professors were mandated to have the COVID-19 vaccine. If someone did not or could not receive the vaccine, they were automatically placed into Bradley University’s testing protocols.

Upon students getting the email about the vaccine requirement, there was a ripple throughout campus as people said if they were vaccinated or not. 

“By the time that the vaccine email came out, I was already fully vaccinated, so I wasn’t worried,” Rayne Smith, freshman middle school math education major, said.

Now Bradley is requiring proof of vaccination to register for spring courses by Nov. 1, according to an email sent on Sept. 3.

However, this mandate could be a little tricky to implement throughout Bradley for those who have been waiting to get the vaccine for various reasons including personal choice, sickness and uncertainty.

“Any time that you have a mandate for an entire institution, it’s very difficult to enforce, to implement [and] have everyone understand the reason behind it,” Dakota Horn, lecturer and basic course director of communications, said.

Throughout the entire pandemic, the vaccine has been viewed as a political play for both parties. Due to it now being mandated in many places, it could raise a few eyebrows regarding one’s views. 

There are a few exceptions to the vaccine mandate, including religious practices and prior illnesses that may be affected by the vaccine. However, there is always the option to wear a mask and be tested weekly if one is unable to get vaccinated.

“The science is very clear,” Jackie Hogan, director of anthropology, said. “Everyone who can get a vaccine should get a vaccine. Everyone should [wear a] mask.” 

Some students around Bradley view the mandate as a good thing. If the majority of students and faculty are fully vaccinated, it gives Bradley the opportunity to bring back different events similar to Taste of Bradley and Live! On Main. 

“Since this is my first year on campus, I was very excited to attend all of the different events that I had heard so much about,” Smith said.

On the professors’ side of things, most are also pleased with the mandated vaccinations and testing protocols. Just like with student activities, this gives the professors opportunities to teach in the classroom again and participate in more activities with their students. 

“I’m back to the way I was teaching 18 months ago, where I feel that I’m not hesitant to do these things [in-class group activities in close proximity],” Horn said. “So, the small things are back now.”

For an example of the aforementioned classroom activities, a few engineering classes moved outdoors to switch up the learning environment.

One major thing that faculty and students alike are excited to return because of the mandate is the energy that in-person teaching brings. Students are able to make connections with their peers and make connections with different mentors.

“Being in person, I think, makes for much better learning and better exchange, free exchange of ideas,” Hogan said. 

Currently, over 73% and 74% of Bradley students and employees, respectively, are vaccinated.

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