York College will not require COVID-19 vaccine for students next year

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
York College of Pennsylvania campus in Spring Garden Township, Friday, April 16, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York College, along with other colleges in the area, will not require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before the start of the next school year. 

College President Pamela Gunter-Smith announced the decision in a letter released Monday. She said the college encourages people on campus to be vaccinated but will not make it a requirement for retuning to campus in the fall. 

Students will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test within three days of returning to campus or provide proof that they are fully vaccinated. The college will continue its random surveillance testing to track COVID-19 transmission, and vaccinations may be required to participate in some activities, including athletics, according to the letter. 

Penn State York and Harrisburg Area Community College are following a similar plan. Officials from both colleges confirmed earlier this year that they will not require students and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus next year. 

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All three local colleges have held courses mostly online for the last two semesters because of the pandemic, but all hope to expand in-person instruction next year. Gunter-Smith said in the letter that remote learning options will still be available to some students on a case-by-case basis.