Vermont State COVID-19 Policy

COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, Recommendations, and Rationale – Fall 2023


  1. VTSU does not have an institutional mandate requiring students, faculty, or staff be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  2. VTSU recognizes we all hold personal responsibility for one’s health and the broader health of our community and recommends students, faculty, and staff to follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance including staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines including boosters and staying home when sick.
  3. Pursuant to COVID-19 protocols in healthcare settings certain academic programs will require up-to-date COVID vaccination and masking for clinical placement.  VTSU will follow current guidance from the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health related to health care settings to ensure students can participate in clinical placements.


  1. Starting in Fall of 2023, we recommend downgrading the COVID-19 Vaccine requirement for VTSU Students to a recommendation to follow CDC prevention guidance including staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines including boosters.
  2. Emphasize a shift from institutional mandates to personal responsibility for one’s health and the health of our community.
  3. Certain Academic Programs will continue to require COVID vaccination as the norm (e.g. Nursing and Dental will need to require this for clinical placement pursuant to guidance in healthcare settings)


  1. Lack of federal or state requirements
    a. Unlike other specified vaccines (MMR, Varicella, etc), there are no state or federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements for college students.
    b. A strong recommendation would align with state and federal guidelines.
  2. In order to be medically effective, any requirement would need to include updated versions of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    a. The most effective vaccine for a particular emerging strain may not exist yet10.
    b. Vaccine effectiveness has been shown to wane over time8.
    c. It might be a more medically effective strategy to advise individuals that proof of vaccination could become required if and when it is medically warranted.
    i. Why require someone get a vaccine that might not work well in the future10?
  3. The situational framework has improved significantly.
    a. Unlike Spring 2021, current conditions should not jeopardize the academic mission or place the local / regional hospital system at high risk of failure.
    i. We no longer face ten-day isolation in designated housing, few treatment options, hospital crises, and low levels of herd immunity from past infection and/or immunization.
  4. Hospital mortality rates due to COVID-19 are declining. 4
  5. Current antiviral medications remain effective in preventing hospitalizations and severe outcomes.6,7
  6. Currently available bivalent vaccines remain safe5 and effective against current circulating strains in reducing rates of infection, hospitalization, and severe health outcomes.1,2,3,8
  7. Natural immunity (i.e. from prior infection) may be equivalent to current vaccination strategies in preventing severe disease9.
  8. The current vaccine policy requires monitoring and enforcement, increasing workload and stress and diverting energy away from progress in other important areas.