Oakland University requires vaccine for students to live on campus this fall

Oakland University students who want to live on campus in the fall must get the COVID-19 vaccine

"This year has been very challenging to everyone - all the people I talk to are having problems with their classes," said Conor Brownell, OU freshman. 

But to help weather the pandemic, Oakland University's president - who is also a medical doctor - is taking a big step to keep her campus safe and help restore a sense of normalcy at the university.

"During the fall we're going to insist that students who choose to live in residential housing, on campus, dorm rooms, apartments, we're going to mandate you have a vaccine," said Dr. Ora Pescovitz, OU president.  "In the first six hours since we put our internal announcement, we had over 1,000 people register for the immunization," 

To help get students vaccinated, the university is bringing the vaccines to campus.

"We have 5,200 vaccines available to us and we've made them available this week," she said. "We have a special vaccination clinic just for students to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine next week,"

But some students who live on campus admit they are still on the fence about the mandate

"Right now it's just a maybe," said freshman  Aaiyana West. "I haven't really thought about it. We have three months to think about it until we come back."

For those who criticize the mandate, the university's president says there are other options.

"Students have an option to come to Oakland University and not stay in residence halls," said Pescovitz. "Only 20 percent of our students live on campus. The other 80 percent are commuter students."

Students can live on campus without being vaccinated due to medical or religious beliefs, but they must provide proof to the Dean of Students.

Many students say they support the mandate. Brownell said he's already signed up to be vaccinated next week.

"Safety is our biggest precaution and I think it's a step in the right direction," he said. 

University officials say the COVID-19 infection rate during the school year was low and this mandate is one more step to keep the virus at bay.

"I am very excited about the fall semester looking as normal as possible if everyone can get immunized," Pescovitz said.