University becomes first in the UK to ban unvaccinated students

·3-min read
Unvaccinated students will be banned from living on campus at Hartpury University and College (file photo) (Getty Images)

A leading university has become the first in the UK to ban students from living on campus if they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Hartpury University and College have warned it will be a “mandatory requirement” for students living in halls of residence to prove they have had at least one dose, according to the Telegraph.

From September, unvaccinated students will also be prohibited from taking part in sports and social activities.

In a letter sent to students and parents on August 16, Claire Whitworth, vice-principal at Hartpury University and College, wrote: “Our expectation is that all eligible students will engage and take up their vaccinations as soon as they are given the opportunity.

“The vaccine protects you, protects others, and will allow us all to lead a ‘new normal’ life, including the best possible Hartpury experience.

“In order to benefit from the most effective protection against Covid-19, it is a mandatory requirement that all eligible students in onsite residential accommodation will engage in the Covid-19 vaccination programme and have both doses of the vaccine when made available to them.

“This also applies to students who wish to join/continue with Hartpury’s sports activities outside of timetabled academic sessions, and those who wish to use Hartpury’s livery.”

According to the paper, the vaccination policy has led to some complaints from parents and students.

One parent told the publication her daughter’s “dreams were in tatters”.

“I feel it’s my choice as a mother to say no,” she said.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer but I believe her immune system is strong enough to deal with the virus. Why should she have to prove her medical history?

“I think their stance is completely inappropriate and it is causing a huge amount of distress to my daughter and the whole family.”

Some universities in the US have already made vaccinations mandatory.

Quinnipiac University in Connecticut warned students that they would be unable to access Wi-Fi if they failed to prove their vaccination status.

They also said students will be fined weekly for failing to provide their vaccine documentation, for a maximum of $2,275 (£1,670) for the semester, according to CNN.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Government currently has no plans to require the use of the NHS COVID Pass for access to learning in higher education, however universities are autonomous and able to determine their own arrangements to keep students and staff as safe as possible. We encourage all students to take up the offer of both vaccine doses.”

A Hartpury University and Hartpury College spokesperson said: “In order to benefit from the most effective protection against Covid-19, we require eligible students who wish to live in our campus residential accommodation to have the Covid-19 vaccinations, when these are made available to their age category. Students who are not intending to engage with the vaccination programme will still be able to attend all of their in-person teaching on campus, but will not be able to reside in Hartpury onsite accommodation (unless they are exempt due to medical reasons).

“We have taken this decision to protect our student, staff and wider communities, and offer all of our university and college students the best possible experience in this forthcoming academic year. The Students’ Union are in full support of our vaccination requirements for students who wish to live on campus. Feedback on our stance from parents and students, and from a record numbers of applicants, has been overwhelmingly positive.”

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