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Maryville College requires COVID-19 vaccines and masks at school this fall

School leaders say 74% of their students have already gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Maryville College is requiring everyone who steps foot on campus this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Students, faculty and staff had until August 1 to show the private college that they were vaccinated.

School officials say there were a lot of mixed feelings about these safety requirements, but no drop in school enrollment. School President Dr. Bryan said students are complying. 

“They are our best tool for getting back to what were known for and what we do best here," he said.

He said the college offers a unique, tight-knit and hands-on learning experience that students value. The vaccine is a requirement but there are a few exceptions.

Students can request a personal preference exemption while the vaccines are under emergency use authorization. He also said that medical issues or religious objections can exempt students from needing a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, anyone not vaccinated will be subject to weekly, random COVID-19 testing. A few people will be selected to be tested each week by the college.

Coker said it’s been a success so far with 74% of students and 86% of employees being vaccinated with at least one dose.

“When you compare that to the general public, we’re doing well,” Coker said.

Although many got vaccinated against COVID-19, many students said they were not expecting to face a mask mandate when they returned to school.

The campus community got the news Monday that vaccinated or not, everyone will be required to wear a mask inside and practice social distancing.

"We went through a whole year with it, what’s a few more months?” said one student at the college.

“I hope it goes away one day but right now I don’t mind wearing it,” said Brice Bales, another student at the college. 

If any students or faculty missed the deadline on Monday to show they were vaccinated or apply for an exemption, they will have their fall class schedule canceled and won’t be allowed to move onto campus.

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