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U of Vt. Boasts Student Vaccine Rate Near 100%

August 26, 2021

Nearly 100 percent of the students arriving at the University of Vermont this week have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Gary Derr, vice president for operations and public safety. As of Aug. 24, 99.6 percent of students had complied with the school’s vaccine requirement, including “a little over 1 percent who have approved religious or medical exemptions,” he said.

Roughly 10,000 of UVM’s 13,500 students met the school’s Aug. 1 deadline to prove that they were either vaccinated, scheduled to be vaccinated or had a legitimate exemption, Derr said. Administrators followed up with phone calls and text messages to students who missed the deadline -- and their parents -- which resulted in extremely high compliance, he said. There were only one or two serious anti-vaxxers, who said the university couldn't force it on them. “I said, ‘Well, it’s a decision you have to make,’ but they were very, very few,” Derr said.

Students who didn’t respond at all were disenrolled. “After all of our calls and all of our reaching out, we disenrolled students who provided no information,” Derr said. “For the undergraduate population, that was under 40 students; for the graduate and nondegree programs, it was around 15. And we suspect that those students really didn’t plan to come back anyways.”

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Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg is a senior editor at Inside Higher Ed. A career journalist and educator, she joined the publication in August 2021 after eight years in Vermont, where she freelanced and taught writing at Middlebury College and Champlain College. Prior to that, she spent 22 years writing and editing for Newsweek magazine, where she covered everything from international affairs to arts and culture. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and River Teeth, among others. She has taught English and journalism at Phillips Academy, where she served as an advisor to the student newspaper. She holds a B.A. in English from Brown University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia. The mother of three nearly adult children, she is very much enjoying her newly empty nest.

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