Poll Finds Strong Support for Colleges, Universities, Mandating COVID Vaccines

April 23, 2021 by TWN Staff
Princeton University. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Nearly 70% of Americans agree with universities and colleges mandating all staff and students be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they resume face-to-face operations, a new, Back-to-Normal Barometer survey has found.

The survey asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: I support universities and colleges mandating all staff and students be vaccinated for COVID in order to return to full face-to-face operations. 

Of the respondents, 50% strongly agreed with that statement; 18% somewhat agreed; 13% somewhat disagreed and 19% strongly disagreed.

“We’ve seen a meaningful increase in those strongly advocating a return to in person education,” said Jon Last, president of Sports and Leisure Research Group and former national president of the Insights Association, whose firm, along with ROKK Solutions—conducted the survey.  

“Couple that finding with the significant majority who support institutions’ rights to mandate vaccinations for those returning to campus, and it is clear that Americans are at a breaking point when it comes to at home learning,” Last said.

The survey also asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement:  “It is our civic obligation to re-open all schools this fall.” 

Forty-four percent of them strongly agreed with this statement which is a 15-point climb from a survey in which researchers asked the same question in August 2020.  

Additionally, they were asked their level of agreement with this statement: “Schools should open for face-to-face instruction in my community.”  

Forty-Seven percent strongly agreed which is a 19-point increase from the August 2020 survey. 

“Colleges and Universities are now taking a leading role in the COVID-19 vaccination fight by using it as leverage in order for faculty and students to come back to class,” said Ron Bonjean, partner at ROKK Solutions.

He went on to predict it is likely that more educational institutions will make vaccination a requirement for being on campus knowing they have the backing of a majority of Americans.

The margin of error on the April 12, 2021 online survey of  502 Americans is +/-4.4% at the 95% confidence interval. 

Locally, a number of universities are already making their policies known.

George Washington University, for instance, will require all students, faculty and staff to be fully inoculated against the coronavirus prior to arriving on campus this fall.

“We continue to be encouraged by the progress we make each day toward a post-pandemic university, country and world,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in an April 19 email to faculty, staff and students.

“We expect the availability of vaccines to increase, allowing everyone age 16 and above the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine this spring or summer,” he said.

The University of Maryland will require COVID-19 vaccines for all students, faculty and staff when classes begin on Aug. 30.

University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman announced the decision on April 23.

Georgetown University will require all its undergraduate and graduate students at its main campus, medical center and law center to receive a COVID-19 vaccination for the fall semester.

A decision on requiring faculty and staff to be vaccinated will be determined on a later date based on the ongoing public health measures.

American University President Sylvia Burwell said in a letter that students will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before setting foot on campus.

Staff and faculty will be strongly recommended to get vaccinated, Burwell said.

Face coverings, social distancing rules and other safety protocols will be in effect during the fall semester, including for those who receive a vaccine.

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