KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As college students prepare to return to campus this fall, administrators are putting new rules aimed at stopping the lingering pandemic in place.
“I’m a little nervous, but excited that it’s in person,” UMKC student Ruth Hail said.
Hail said she’s ready to be in the classroom. She’s one of thousands of college students around the world going back to class in person after an unpredictable year of online learning.
“For me it was isolating, and I had to email my teachers if I needed questions,” Hail said.
The biggest difference between the upcoming school year and last year: The COVID-19 vaccine is available for almost everyone.
FOX4 found out what universities and colleges in the Kansas City area are requiring for a safe return.
Two private colleges in the metro will require students to get their COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus.
Rockhurst University is requiring students to be vaccinated with exemptions allowed for medical, religious or personal reasons. Faculty and staff are not required to receive the shot. The college won’t require people who have been vaccinated to wear masks on campus.
Likewise, William Jewell College will require students and employees to get the shot. As with other vaccines, the college will also accept exemptions for personal or religious beliefs, and also for medical conditions.
Most other public universities in the area that FOX4 checked with will not be requiring COVID-19 vaccines, but they’re highly encouraged.
The University of Kansas is not requiring vaccines for students. However, KU students living in campus housing will be asked to voluntarily provide proof of vaccination or they’ll be required to get tested for COVID-19 upon arriving on campus. Additionally, the university rescinded its mask policy, and now masks are optional.
Kansas State University is also not requiring people to get the shot. The university said masks are optional, but they encourage people who are not vaccinated to wear one.
Park University will not require students to be vaccinated. However, it plans to host vaccination events at the start of the fall semester, which begins on Aug. 16. Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a face mask indoors or outdoors, including classrooms. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are asked to follow the CDC guidelines.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City does not require vaccination for students. Masks are still required in hospitals, other healthcare settings and public transportation settings.
The University of Missouri-Columbia is strongly encouraging students to be vaccinated. It’s recommending everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask indoors this semester.
Hail said she knows this year will be different, but she’s looking forward to being back in the UMKC community again.
“Just getting to talk to people and getting to know them better,” she said.