Students weigh in on vaccine requirement


Dominic Salacki

Students and employees can get the COVID vaccine on campus in Annex A. Students tell Campus Current they understand the college’s new requirement for a vaccine or a weekly COVID test.

Dominic Salacki, Editor-in-Chief

AACC students said this week they support the college’s decision to require vaccines or weekly negative COVID tests for anyone who takes classes on campus.

In an informal poll of 20 students on Monday and Tuesday, seven said AACC’s vaccine policy is a good idea; six said the new requirement is fair or necessary; four said getting the vaccine should be optional; and three said they are indifferent.

AACC announced on Aug. 27 that students and employees have until Oct. 1 to get vaccinated if they want to go inside campus buildings. After that, unvaccinated visitors must submit weekly negative COVID tests.

“If they don’t want to [get vaccinated, AACC’s policy] is not going against their rights, but it’s still trying to protect [others on campus], so it’s good,” Bereket Asfaw, a fourth-year mathematics student, said.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has set up a COVID-19 vaccination site in Annex A on AACC’s Arnold campus. Students and employees may make vaccination appointments here.

 Student Government Association President Ben Nussbaumer said the policy might push more students and employees to get the vaccine.

“I feel like weekly [COVID] tests could be a bit inconvenient for some students,” Nussbaumer, a third-year hotel/restaurant management student, said. “I think that might help them get the vaccine and get everything good to go.”

Rhiannon Elder, a first-year computer engineering student, agreed weekly COVID tests for the unvaccinated could motivate them to get their shots.

“I’m sure it’s going to be annoying for people that aren’t vaccinated, but if you get vaccinated it won’t be a problem,” Elder said.

David Phan, a third-year landscape architecture student, compared the COVID vaccine to the annual flu shot that many get routinely.

“I know some people are a bit [hesitant], but it’s just a shot,” Phan said. “Just comply.”

But Dalton Lory, a first-year undecided student, said AACC shouldn’t force students to get the COVID vaccine.

“I feel like people should be free to get whatever needle they want,” Lory said. “If they want to or not, it should be their choice.”

Matthew Ashford, a second-year theater student, agreed getting the COVID vaccine should be a choice.

“You shouldn’t be pushed into getting [vaccinated] if you don’t want to,” Ashford said.

Nussbaumer said AACC is doing “a good job” of making sure students understand vaccinations.

“I think it’ll be fine as long as people listen to the guidelines that we have,” Nussbaumer said. “At this point, you’re responsible for your own health.”