Saint Mary’s University to require COVID-19 vaccines upon FDA approval

Saint Mary’s University announced Wednesday it will require COVID-19 vaccines for all students, faculty and staff in the event the shot is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The university is also enacting a mask mandate inside all buildings on its Winona, Rochester and Twin Cities campuses and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ann Merchlewitz said the decision comes amid rising case counts and hospitalization fueled by the circulation of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“We’ve been very proud of how our students have shown great care and concern for one another throughout this pandemic,” Merchlewitz said. “Requiring the vaccination is an extension of this concern for others, particularly those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and the delta variant. It will also allow us to continue a safe, uninterrupted, and personalized academic experience.”

Saint Mary’s is the latest of several Minnesota colleges to announce COVID-19 measures for the coming school year.

The University of St. Thomas, Carleton College, Hamline University and Macalester College are all requiring vaccines for all on-campus students, faculty and staff. The University of Minnesota has reinstated an indoor mask mandate for all buildings on campus; the school so far has said it will not require vaccines.