All students and staff at Mount St. Joseph University must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 15, officials announced Monday morning.
The Mount, a private, Catholic college founded in 1920 in Delhi Township, is the latest local university to require the vaccine, after the University of Cincinnati, Miami University and Xavier University made similar announcements in the last several weeks.
“For more than 100 years, the University has delivered on two solemn promises – to provide students with a world-class education, and to do so in a safe, intellectually stimulating living-learning community,” President H. James Williams said in Monday’s news release. “Despite the implementation of comprehensive health and safety protocols on the Mount’s campus, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten our ability to deliver on these promises.”
Officials said about 50% of students and 70% of employees have been vaccinated as of Monday.
The university says 18 members of the Mount community have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis since classes started three weeks ago. Those individuals have recovered in isolation, and no hospitalizations have been reported. Another 39 unvaccinated students were quarantined this fall due to exposure to COVID-19, and a total of 52 classes were forced to switch to virtual or hybrid models because of isolations and quarantines.
The Mount was the first university in the Cincinnati region to announce a vaccine requirement for some students back in May. At that time, only students living on campus were required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s about 500 students or roughly 35 to 40% of the university’s total undergraduates, Williams said.
The new requirement, which affects all students and employees, was prompted by the growing spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 and “a low vaccination rate among the Mount community,” according to the news release. Students and staff must submit proof of vaccination, or a university-approved exemption, by Dec. 15.
The Mount will host a vaccination clinic on its campus this fall, in partnership with Mercy Health West Hospital. Community members are invited to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Oct. 29, and the second on Nov. 19. Students who do not get the vaccine will not be allowed back in the spring semester. Employees face termination if they do not comply with the vaccination requirement.
“If there is one thing that we know to be true, it is that Mount Lions care deeply for one another,” Williams said. “By requiring each student and employee to make a small gesture of love by getting vaccinated, in the words of the Holy Father, we ensure a better future for all of us.”