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Commuter student vaccination rates lag behind residential counterparts

Photo by Alexander Knobloch

Commuter students maintain a declared vaccination rate of 60 percent, while residential students maintain a vaccination rate of 88 percent.

 Rollins administration has established a variety of incentives to encourage the community to get vaccinated, including phasing out the usage of the Campus Clear app, downsizing the need for facial masks, giving vaccinated students 50 TarBucs$ , and offering the possibility for the first ever Fall Fox Day.

While some of these goals shifted as a result of high COVID-19 rates in Orange County during the late summer, Fall Fox Day continues to be an objective that is still on the table.

At this time, at least 90 percent of all students and faculty across campus need to be fully vaccinated to receive a Fall Fox Day. At the time of publication, and according to the Rollins COVID-19 Dashboard, the Rollins community is short of the goal at 77 percent, which is  higher than the local average. 

Proof of vaccination from students and staff continues to trickle in, but commuter students are disproportionately lower in their vaccination progress than any other group identified on the dashboard, with a vaccination rate of  60 percent.  

The four other groups shown on the dashboard (Full-time Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, Residential Students, and Staff) remain at high percentages, distributed between 87 percent and 96 percent.

The commuter student category includes CLA commuters, Crummer business school students, and many Holt students.

Denise Synder, assistant director of the Wellness Center, said that the lack of fully vaccinated commuter students may be because of a general disinterest in receiving the vaccine, but it is more likely the result of students simply not declaring their vaccination status to the school. 

“I believe our commuter students have a higher vaccination rate than is available in the dashboard; however, our data comes from voluntary uploads to Foxlink of their vaccine card,” Snyder said.

Synder emphasized, however, that those in the community who do have hesitations about receiving the vaccine should determine what might be causing their reservations and try to alleviate those potential stressors. 

“We have numerous studies to support the safety of the COVID vaccines available in the US,” said Snyder. “ I would ask the individual what their hesitation to vaccination is so that our staff can provide evidence-based education to that individual.  Hesitation for vaccines can vary from person to person, so it is important to understand what their concern is so that we can answer those concerns.”

While there is a deficit in commuters’ vaccination progress, Synder is confident that, in time, more students and staff in the Rollins community will receive the vaccine and/or upload their completed vaccination cards to FoxLink. 

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