Good news for students and staff at Portland Community College, including at its Newberg Center locally: vaccinations will not be required to either receive or administer an education at the state's largest two-year school next fall.
That was the word from PCC administrators last week, according to a press release.
"This decision was recommended unanimously by the college's COVID-19 Opening Leadership Team and approved by College President Mark Mitsui," the release said.
The decision was based on a number of criteria, including the school's finding that access to vaccinations and the hesitancy to receive those vaccinations looks different across racial lines and that vaccination requirements create a barrier to access to education that disproportionately impacts Blacks, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
"This would not reflect PCC's institutional values of equity, inclusion and belonging," the release said.
Also considered in the edict were the findings of a recent survey that the vaccination rates for PCC employees and students already exceed the target rate set by Gov. Kate Brown.
"The vaccination rate will never be 100%," the release said. "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."
PCC is following the lead of most of the state's community colleges and many of those across the country in not requiring vaccination as a condition of enrollment.
"This trend is aligned with the open access mission of community colleges, a value that is core to PCC," the release said.
However, as the state moves closer to Brown's vaccination goal, it's possible that some of PCC's pandemic administrative rules and health and safety guidelines will change. The college's latest guidelines are available online at pcc.edu/coronavirus/.
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