College will require vaccines for on ground courses

Proof of vaccination will be needed from students, faculty and staff.


Hakim Felder

Beginning in the 2021 spring semester, HCCC will impose a vaccine mandate for on-ground courses. Students will not be able to take or register for these courses unless they have proof of vaccination.  

 So far, the majority of employees and students have either been fully vaccinated or are in the process. HCCC prides themselves on the safety of their students.  

President Christopher Reber of Hudson County Community College believes that students should be vaccinated and the chances of becoming “critically ill” will rise if they do not comply with the mandate. 

President Reber also provided statistics regarding people on campus: 

“We’ve done a recent survey which indicates that 95 percent of all our employees [and] 90 percent of the students are fully vaccinated.” 

Reber continued: 

“Since we’ve grown our remote and online offerings, this is the position we are taking.” 

Heather DeVries, co-chair of the Return to Campus Task Force, shared her thoughts on the situation. 

She explained that the college’s relationship with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, a local health care and social services provider, was advantageous because it allowed the college to provide immunizations to many students, staff, and faculty at a time when vaccines were in short supply.  

When asked about the mandate, DeVries believed it happened in an “organic” manner, considering the easy access to these resources. 

However, some students and staff may have concerns about the vaccine for various reasons. 

Lisa Dougherty, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment , discussed how the college will respond to those who need accommodations. 

“If a person is not getting the vaccine because they are hesitant, and it is not a legitimate, or religious concern, I really would encourage them to reach out to the return to campus task force.” 

Dougherty feels that the health and safety committee can teach said people about the consequences of not getting vaccinated and relieve them of any societal pressures they may be experiencing. She assures, “If a student does have a medical religious reason for not getting vaccinated but still needs to take online courses to graduate, we are not going to stop them from graduating. We are going to work with them by coming up with online, or remote services.”  

Edosa Erhunmwuosere , a student at HCCC, believes that it would be the best thing to do in order to ensure everyone’s safety. 

“We have people who want to study on the ground but don’t want to get vaccinated, why not just study online or remotely?” 

Salma, another HCCC student adds, “Due to the fact that they are administering the vaccine in the schools I don’t see a reason why anyone would not take it; it is really accessible.” 

Salma continued, “I don’t want to be put in jeopardy due to the negligence of other students.” 

When it came to the vaccine obligation, several students were undecided. 

Abigail Rooney, an HCCC student, believes that while students should receive the vaccine, it should not be mandatory. 

“I do think people should get vaccinated, but I feel like a mandate would be a violation for someone’s personal bodily respect.” 

In the event of a pandemic, the most important objective is to safeguard the safety of not just the students, but also the staff and professors. The college administration believes that the benefits of the mandate outweigh the disadvantages in providing a secure learning environment.