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.”