SchoolWatch: RCC not requiring students or staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19

While Oregon's four-year universities have largely made vaccination a requirement on campus, the opposite is true of community colleges in the state.

Posted: Sep 14, 2021 12:34 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2021 5:21 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — With less than a week to go before fall classes begin at Rogue Community College, the school's policy will not require students or faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to appear on campus.

"RCC joins all community colleges in Oregon in encouraging employees and students to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 to protect themselves, the RCC learning environment, and our communities at large," the community college's COVID-19 policy reads. "Likewise, we join the majority of Oregon community colleges in not mandating vaccines for employees or students."

As of now, RCC is indeed following the trend among Oregon's higher education institutions. While Oregon's public universities adopted vaccination requirements early — Southern Oregon University instituted one in May — community colleges have largely avoided making similar mandates, Lane Community College representing a significant exception.

RCC says that it will prioritize sharing resources and information about the vaccine's availability and efficacy, and vaccination clinics will be available at the Table Rock and Redwood campuses on Wednesday during the student Welcome Days. Masks are required indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces due to the statewide mandate, and disposable masks will be available at RCC as needed.

Under Governor Kate Brown's subsequent vaccine mandates, COVID-19 vaccinations are required for healthcare workers and K-12 educators. Broadly speaking, this does not apply to community college faculty, except where they overlap with certain healthcare programs or if they also work in a K-12 setting. More information about what RCC programs would be covered by the mandate can be found on their website under the vaccination policy.

At present, even Portland Community College has resisted implementing a vaccination requirement for students or staff, citing the different landscape of vaccine access and hesitancy in historically disadvantaged communities, and indicating that mandates could be ineffective.

"Based on surveys, vaccination rates for PCC employee and student communities far exceed 70%, the vaccination target rate set by Governor Kate Brown," PCC said in a June statement. "The vaccination rate will never be 100%. Oregon law allows individuals to request exemption from vaccination requirements for personal, religious, or medical reasons. As such, some members of the college’s community would not be vaccinated, even if it were required."

PCC's Board of Directors has since considered implementing a vaccine mandate, but has yet to follow through.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313161

Reported Deaths: 3594
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51245642
Washington34995276
Marion32577393
Clackamas26570271
Lane23989246
Jackson20977257
Deschutes16623102
Umatilla12602125
Douglas10712188
Linn1046886
Josephine8659165
Yamhill744999
Klamath643491
Polk623570
Malheur479467
Benton461927
Coos412069
Columbia324237
Jefferson313746
Lincoln276330
Union272737
Wasco239039
Crook212338
Clatsop211725
Tillamook181523
Baker174421
Morrow167921
Curry166817
Hood River163035
Harney78916
Grant7558
Lake6768
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4644566

Reported Deaths: 68019
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144512125852
Riverside3579884804
San Diego3495814009
San Bernardino3472035506
Orange3146225354
Sacramento1503072089
Santa Clara1405641841
Fresno1358611888
Kern1358421515
Alameda1162141329
Ventura976901120
San Joaquin973871615
Contra Costa95727924
Stanislaus806991234
Tulare72969896
San Mateo52239607
San Francisco51907605
Monterey49465565
Solano44151312
Santa Barbara43112500
Sonoma39441378
Merced39370535
Placer36487364
Imperial34261755
Kings30124284
San Luis Obispo28300313
Madera21707258
Butte21307230
Shasta20683276
Santa Cruz20151211
Yolo19143239
Marin17106242
El Dorado16004127
Sutter13094153
Napa1226895
Yuba926061
Nevada847685
Humboldt829587
Tehama823784
San Benito709067
Mendocino685575
Lassen637627
Tuolumne615393
Lake603687
Amador492259
Glenn398030
Siskiyou389541
Calaveras342266
Del Norte336034
Colusa290918
Inyo166539
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa99712
Trinity72010
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1650
Alpine1000
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