Southern Maine Community College will require all people taking any type of class or training on college property or at off-site education centers to submit proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Maine Community College System Board of Trustees voted Thursday to require student vaccines at all seven community colleges in Maine given the recent surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus. The requirement does not apply to students who are taking classes online and will not be entering any on-campus buildings for any reason.

SMCC has campuses in South Portland and at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, both with dormatories.

The vaccine protocol will better allow SMCC to protect the health and safety of its students and employees while delivering on its mission of providing educational excellence, said SMCC President Joe Cassidy in a statement issued Thursday, Aug. 12.

“We will have more students taking classes and living on our campuses this fall than we’ve had for the past year and a half,” Cassidy said. “We are taking every step possible to keep our community safe while still offering a full college experience for those seeking in-person instruction. At the same time, we will be offering hundreds of online learning opportunities for those who are seeking the convenience of a remote education.”

Previously, vaccines were only required for the Fall Semester for students living in on-campus residence halls or participating on SMCC athletic teams. Per Maine Community College guidelines, masks are required of all people when they are inside college buildings and when outside in a dense crowd.

The MCCS will grant exemptions to the vaccine requirement to students who cannot be vaccinated for documented medical reasons. Students who are not vaccinated can still enroll in classes offered remotely. Approximately 50 percent of SMCC classes this fall will be offered remotely.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the state on Thursday reported 235 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths.

Also Thursday, Gov. Mills has issued an order mandating all healthcare workers be vaccinated. The announcement came as COVID cases are rising in Maine and throughout the nation due to the high contagious delta variant.

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