SMCC to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students taking in-person classes

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Southern Maine Community College will require all people taking any type of class or training on SMCC property or at off-site education centers to submit proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Maine Community College System Board of Trustees voted Thursday to require student vaccines at all seven community colleges in Maine given the recent surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus. The requirement does not apply to students who are taking classes online and will not be entering any on-campus buildings for any reason.

The vaccine protocol will better allow SMCC to protect the health and safety of its students and employees while delivering on its mission of providing educational excellence, said SMCC President Joe Cassidy.

“We will have more students taking classes and living on our campuses this fall than we’ve had for the past year and a half,” Cassidy said. “We are taking every step possible to keep our community safe while still offering a full college experience for those seeking in-person instruction. At the same time, we will be offering hundreds of online learning opportunities for those who are seeking the convenience of a remote education.”

Previously, vaccines were only required for the Fall Semester for students living in on-campus residence halls or participating on SMCC athletic teams. Per MCCS guidelines, masks are required of all people when they are inside college buildings and when outside in a dense crowd.

The MCCS will grant exemptions to the vaccine requirement to students who cannot be vaccinated for documented medical reasons. Students who are not vaccinated can still enroll in classes offered remotely. Approximately 50 percent of SMCC classes this fall will be offered remotely.

System officials are beginning discussions with representatives of employee bargaining units in hopes of adopting a similar vaccination policy for staff and faculty.

For more information about SMCC’s fall plans, please visit the SMCC COVID-19 information webpage.

Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) is Maine’s largest and oldest community college. Founded in 1946, SMCC offers courses at its South Portland, Brunswick and online campuses and at community satellite locations. SMCC has among the lowest tuition and fees in New England and offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs, noncredit classes, and workforce and career skills training.