In Apparent First, Lasell University To Drop COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

An overhead view of Lasell University in Newton's Auburndale neighborhood. Photo: Lasell College

NEWTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Lasell University says it is dropping its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, in an apparent first for major Boston-area colleges and universities. The university said that the requirement would end for all students, staff and guests on June 1, 2023.

Lasell's COVID-19 Task Force Chair David Hennessey confirmed the change to WBZ NewsRadio on Wednesday. He said that after keeping an eye on scientific research, the university is beginning to consider COVID an endemic, not a pandemic. The policy first went into place in the Fall 2021 semester, with a booster mandate in Spring 2022.

An email to the school community pointed to the fact that the White House is ending the national COVID-19 emergency on May 11.

"This change in policy exemplifies our ability to be nimble and responsive," it said.

Hennessey said he doesn't expect the policy change to cause a bump or sag in enrollment. To be clear, the school's stance on the vaccine hasn't changed: "We're still encouraging people to take the vaccine and stay current with all boosters. We strongly encourage that," he said.

Hennessey said he was not aware of any other local college rescinding their requirement just yet, but said other schools are mulling it over.

"We are aware that several other campuses are talking about it...but for one reason or another have not yet made that final decision," he said.

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