Colleges Plans Provide Clues for Life at Northwood Next Year 

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Will next year be more of the same or will school be back to a pre-pandemic normal? Northwood hasn’t shared its plan for next year, but many colleges have, and those plans may provide clues as to what Northwood will look like next year.  

As the college admission cycle ends this spring, college administrations are beginning to share their plans for next year. With the vaccination rate in the United States increasing rapidlydoes that mean a return to normal? As Northwood School followed colleges throughout the pandemic in terms of reopening plans, does this mean a return to normal for Northwood as well? 

US colleges are hoping for a return to normalcy by next fall and the COVID-19 vaccine is the centerpiece of many colleges’ plansA growing number of colleges, such as Rutgers, Brown, CornellNortheastern, and Duke are requiring students to be fully vaccinated before returning to in-person classes. Most colleges are allowing students to opt-out of the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.  

Students generally support the vaccine requirement. CNBC reports that “according to a recent survey of 1,000 college students by College Pulse, an overwhelming 71% of students believe colleges have the right to require students to get vaccinated before returning to campus. However, 19% say they do not support vaccination requirements and 10% say they are not sure.” As vaccines become widely available to all college-age students, it’s widely expected that more colleges and universities will require vaccinations. 

But not every school believed they can legally require students to get vaccinated. Some colleges wish to leave the decisionAt Virginia Tech, officials “determined that they can’t because the US Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of the vaccines and hasn’t given vaccines its full approval.”  

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the US, but only the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer is approved for people 16 and up. Approximately 20% of Northwood students are currently under 16For a secondary school like Northwood to require the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA must approve a vaccine for people under 16. Clinical trials and well underway for people aged 12-15, but it is uncertain whether the vaccine will be approved for people aged 12 and up in time for Northwood’s youngest students to be vaccinated before the start of the 2021-22 school year. 

Whether and how vaccinations will figure into Northwood’s plan for next school year is still unclear. Mr. John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life, said the school will share more about its plan for next year “in the coming weeks.” 


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