INDIANAPOLIS — Butler University’s President James M. Danko announced it will be requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff.
The university has also asked for proof of vaccination by August 1, 2021.
“It is quite clear to me that requiring the vaccine best supports an environment that allows us to provide an educational experience that is most effective, with the highest degree of safety, and the least number of restrictions,” Danko wrote in a letter to the Butler community on Monday. “Regarding the environment outside of the classroom, I am confident that we will be able to fully restore a vibrant on-campus experience, allowing our students to return to pre-pandemic activities.”
"We have the intention of being fully open. 100% capacity in the classrooms, no masks, really lifting all of the requirements that we've had in the past year. And we just felt like making sure that everybody was vaccinated was the responsible and healthiest and safest thing to do it," Mark Apple, Director of Strategic Communications at Butler University said. "Butler University is a private institution so we're treated a little bit differently than the taxpayer state institutions and we can make decisions like this on our own."
According to a press release from Butler University, the school expects that by requiring vaccinations, it will establish herd immunity within its campus community by allowing the university to restore the campus experience for students, faculty and staff this year.
"I think that it was a decision that made sense for this campus," Regan Coster, a rising senior said. "I don't know the numbers, but most people I've talked to it seems to get vaccinated."
"I think it will help the majority. I know there are probably a few people that aren't happy with it, but I think all in all that they did a good job with it and it was a smart decision," Julia North, another rising senior said.
Butler is planning to relax its pandemic-era policies that include face mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated individuals and by returning to full-capacity, face-to-face classroom instruction, normal social activities, and a standard academic calendar.
Butler’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement also allows individuals with medical, religious, and strongly held personal convictions to request an exemption. University officials stated that each request for exemption will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
However, students, faculty and staff who are granted an exemption will be required to follow certain health and safety protocols, including regular COVID-19 surveillance testing.
"I don't really like forcing anybody to do it, but I think it was for the right reasons and for the safety of students," Kyle Schwartz, a rising senior explained.
“We are well on our way to establishing herd immunity on our campus, which will allow us to successfully restore the campus experience for our students, faculty, and staff, with health and safety as the top priority," Brent Rockwood, Butler's vice president and chief of staff said.