PCC's board of directors agreed to revisit the topic in September. The soonest a mandate could take effect is January.

COURTESY PHOTO - Portland Community College's Willow Creek Center.At the advice of outgoing President Mark Mitsui, the board of directors for Portland Community College decided Thursday, Aug. 19, to stay the course on not requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students and staff returning to campus this fall.

PCC announced in June that it wouldn't require vaccines for its students or staff this fall, but Dan Saltzman, who serves on the college's board of directors, had hoped to reverse that.

At Saltzman's request, the board debated a policy Thursday that would have taken effect beginning in January. Willamette Week previously reported Wednesday, Aug. 19, that it was too late to change the rules for fall.

Even with a fall mandate off the table, the board opted not to take immediate action.

Directors agreed to revisit the issue in September, after hearing concerns that implementing a mandate would cause a drop in student enrollment.

"You're going to have some students who are reluctant, who will get disenrolled," Mitsui told the college's board of directors. "There are certain populations in our student community that are more likely to be unsure and are more likely to be unlikely to be vaccinated."

Mitsui has been PCC's president since 2016. He announced earlier this year that he will retire after the 2021-22 school year.

The PCC board also heard from Irene Konev, who said minority communities like Portland's Russian and Slavic residents are fearful of the vaccine.

"Every day, I'm getting texts from people who are reluctant to vaccinate, telling me not to vaccinate," said Konev, who sits on the board of Clackamas Community College. "Our vaccination information is not reaching everyone at the same level as we'd like."

Most community colleges across Oregon have opted not to require proof of vaccination for on-campus classes, with the notable exception of Lane Community College in Eugene.

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