Wittenberg, Clark State encourage COVID-19 vaccine

Parents pulled their cars and trucks up to the dorm and upper classman helped freshman move their stuff into their rooms Thursday during Move-In Day at Wittenberg University. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Parents pulled their cars and trucks up to the dorm and upper classman helped freshman move their stuff into their rooms Thursday during Move-In Day at Wittenberg University. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Wittenberg to give weekly COVID tests to unvaccinated students, staff.

Wittenberg University and Clark State College will continue to strongly encourage vaccinations after the Pfizer vaccine was granted full approval this week.

Although Wittenberg recommends the vaccine, it is not required, but students and staff must provide information that they are fully vaccinated or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing.

“Given the percentage of students and employees who are unvaccinated, we are also now requiring all students employees to pick a pathway of vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing,” according to Wittenberg’s COVID Response Team.

As of Wednesday, 73% of students and 62% of faculty and staff have reported being vaccinated.

Wittenberg’s first day of classes will be on Monday, Aug. 30. Nearly 400 new students moved in on campus on Thursday. Move-in days for returning students will be held over the weekend.

“We are excited to welcome our newest students and are confident that they will find a campus community committed to their personal and professional success from the start,” said Casey Gill, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students and COVID Response Team member.

The first mandatory testing for all unvaccinated students and employees will be on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The free weekly COVID testing will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the 1929 Fieldhouse Gym in the HWA (Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex).

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“Testing all unvaccinated students and employees is our best opportunity to identify infected individuals and curb an outbreak. We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community and adjust our protocols as conditions warrant,” the COVID Response Team said. “Knowing how many of our community members are vaccinated will help us make decisions including testing frequency and when it might be possible to again ease our masking requirements.”

To help get more people vaccinated, the university will offer a vaccine clinic for students and employees from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Aug. 27, and Sept. 17 in Shouvlin where the Pfizer vaccine will be available.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

Clark State officials will also continue to recommend the vaccine.

“Clark State is extremely pleased to see the Pfizer vaccine become fully approved for use. We anticipate this will improve the number of people who choose to become vaccinated,” said Matt Franz, Senior Vice President of Technology, Safety, and Strategic Initiatives. “We have no plans on requiring employees or students to become vaccinated. However, we are encouraging everyone to get the vaccine because it has been demonstrated to be a very effective way to slow the spread of the virus.”

ExploreCoronavirus: Wittenberg requires masks, Clark State to strongly recommend them

The Ohio State University and Antioch College will require the vaccine, while Sinclair Community College, the University of Dayton and Wright State University strongly encourage it. Cedarville University is not requiring the vaccine.

To also help curb the spread of the virus, Wittenberg is requiring everyone to wear a mask indoors, while Clark State is strongly recommending them.

“Everyone, whether vaccinated or not, is required to wear face coverings in all indoor spaces at Wittenberg University,” the COVID Response Team said “This requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status.”

Clark State said they will follow the CDC recommendations of strongly recommending masks to be worn in public and indoor settings.

“Clark State has been consistent with following all state and local guidelines and requirements and we maintain a very close partnership with our local public health officials and health experts. Our current policy is consistent with all of the available guidelines set forth by those groups,” Franz said.

Other colleges that will require masks include Cedarville University, Ohio State University, Wright State University, the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College.

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