As he prepares for the first week of his freshman year, Noah Levine is excited Temple University is requiring all students be vaccinated against COVID-19, he said.
“It’s starting to get bad again and things aren’t going in the right direction,” said Levine, a freshman business management major. “I’m happy that Temple’s making a big step which turns a lot of heads by mandating the vaccine.”
Temple announced on Aug. 13 that all students, faculty, staff and contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, The Temple News reported. Students expressed optimism in the university’s decision as the move signals a potential return to the in-person experience students recall before the pandemic, while others have raised concerns about the timeliness and necessity of the announcement.
The mandate came after the City of Philadelphia announced all health care workers, faculty and students of local colleges must be vaccinated by Oct. 15 except in cases of religious or medical exemption, The Temple News reported.
As the Delta variant continues to surge, Levine feels that the vaccine mandate will make attending in-person events safer, he said.
“I hope that classes aren’t fully online because I think making friends is a core part of being in class,” said Levine. “Besides just walking around and going to club events, classes are a core part of meeting people.”
Izzy Hessler believes Temple’s vaccine mandate is a step in the right direction. While she would have felt comfortable attending classes in person without a mandate, having one in place makes her feel safer, she said.
“I was hoping they would do it, I’m glad that they have medical exceptions, obviously for people who can’t get the vaccine,” said Hessler, a senior art major. “I think it gives us a better chance of actually having a real semester.”
While some students are hopeful about the vaccine requirement, others do not agree with Temple’s decision. Kaleigh Haas believes the university should not be allowed to require vaccines until they receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she said.
“I agree that anyone can get the vaccine if they want to, but I don’t think it should be forced on anyone,” said Haas, a sophomore nursing major. “I think it should be a choice.”
Rather than full FDA approval, the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency use authorizations, which allows for the use of certain vaccines during public health emergencies, according to the FDA.
Haas is vaccinated and believes in the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, she added.
Kiara Marable thinks Temple waited too long to require students to get vaccinated. While she agrees with the mandate, she does not believe students’ safety was Temple’s main concern, she said.
“They’re a business, they don’t really care to make the students feel safer, they just want to do what’s easiest,” said Marable, a senior philosophy and political science major. “I’m sure they’re just trying to save themselves the hassle of people fighting them. It makes sense that they waited until the city mandated it.”
Jesse Burak, a junior theater major who transfered to Temple last fall, also feels the university waited too long to implement the mandate, he said.
”I was kind of upset in the spring when they were like everything was online,” Burak said. “That’s when I think they should have came out with some sort of vaccine mandate.”
Despite his disappointment, Burak is looking forward to meeting new friends and attending in-person events, he added.
“I’m just glad that I’m going to make friends and actually get to know people,” Burak said.