Campus Vaccine Clinics Planned for October, November and December Wilmington College will be updating its immunization requirement for all students, faculty and staff to now include a COVID-19 vaccination or approved exemption to be completed prior to the start of the Spring Semester in January. WC joined more than a thousand colleges and universities across the nation in issuing such changes as part of the institution's protocols for "doing everything possible to reduce the spread of this virus and keep our community of students, faculty and staff safe," according to President Trevor Bates. Those with approved exemptions for medical or religious reasons would be exempt, however, they will be required to be tested on a weekly basis. "Wilmington College is a special place that we all love and want to keep safe," Bates added. "Our Quaker core values guide our commitment to the greater community where each of us makes sacrifices for the well-being of the whole." Bates noted that, at the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year, he announced the College's COVID-19 protocols would be evaluated on a monthly basis. The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has contributed to an increase in cases across the country, Ohio, Clinton County and WC's campus. As of the week ending Oct. 1, the College had 56 students and nine employees test positive this semester with others in isolation or quarantine. Last year over that same time period, it only had two students and one employee test positive. After five weeks of classes, WC's numbers reflect the cases realized during the entire 2020 fall semester. WC experienced only 32 positive cases from January through mid-May. The president noted the vaccine rate among the campus community is "below where we hoped to be at this point." Faculty and staff members enjoy relatively high vaccination rates, 90 and 78 percent, respectively, for a cumulative employee percentage of 82. However, fewer than 40 percent of students have been vaccinated. Bates said the decision to update its protocols is based on the "significant evidence" that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in both reducing the spread of the virus and in mitigating serious illness and death. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval in August and the other vaccines are seeing similar progress. He also cited the federal government's Sept. 9 mandate for all employers, including private colleges and universities, with more than 100 employees to either mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or have weekly testing. To assist with the vaccination process, the College will be holding vaccine clinics on campus Oct. 7 and 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the indoor field at the Center for Sport Sciences. WC held informational webinars for students, parents, faculty and staff on Sept. 23, along with a campus forum Sept. 28. Other opportunities for sharing information will be scheduled as the fall term progresses. "It is our highest priority to ensure a safe environment for all students and employees," Bates said in his message to the campus community. "I thank each of you in advance for continuing to express our core values, particularly of 'Respect for All Persons,' by your individual actions to help keep our community safe. "We will get through these challenging times, together."