Saint Joseph’s College in Standish announced Wednesday that it will require all students and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be able to return to campus in the fall.

In a statement issued to the Saint Joseph’s College community, members of the school’s Pandemic Response Team said the step is an attempt make the health and safety of students and staff its top priority.

“This measure puts Saint Joseph’s College among a growing number of colleges and universities (including some members of the Maine Independent College Association) requiring vaccination, and follows American College Health Association recommendations. We did not make this decision lightly, but like masks, social distancing and sanitation, it maintains our practice of using the best tools available to keep our community safe,” the Pandemic Response Team said.

Last month, Bowdoin College in Brunswick said it will require all students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester, becoming the first Maine college or university to take that step. UNE followed suit last week and Bates did so on Tuesday in a move that is becoming increasingly common across the country.

All employees of Saint Joseph’s and any student returning for campus activities before Aug. 27 must submit proof of final vaccination by July 1. All residential and commuter students arriving on or after Aug. 27, would need to submit proof of final vaccination by Aug. 1. A student or staff person will not be considered fully vaccinated until two weeks have passed since receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

Medical exemptions or other waivers, such as a religious belief, from the vaccine will be considered on an individual basis.

Saint Joseph’s College expects to return to in-person learning this fall.

This story will be updated.

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