By The Skanner News | The Skanner News Published: 21 June 2021
Portland Community College has announced that it will not require students or employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment or enrollment this fall term. This decision was recommended unanimously by the college’s COVID-19 Opening Leadership Team and approved by the College President Mark Mitsui. Behind this decision are several factors:
- Because vaccination access and hesitancy looks different across racial lines, vaccination requirements create a barrier to educational access that will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). This would not reflect PCC’s institutional values of equity, inclusion and belonging.
- Based on surveys, vaccination rates for PCC employee and student communities far exceed 70%, the vaccination target rate set by Governor Kate Brown.
- 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.
- While many public universities are requiring vaccination, no community colleges in Oregon are requiring vaccination of all students, and few community colleges across the country are making vaccination a requirement for enrollment. This trend is aligned with the open access mission of community colleges, a value that is core to PCC.
As the state moves closer to meeting the Governor’s vaccination goal of 70% of eligible Oregonians receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s likely many of PCC’s pandemic administrative rules and health and safety guidelines could change. For the latest on PCC’s health and safety protocols, as well as reopening plans, visit www.pcc.edu/coronavirus/