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Unvaccinated college students jeopardize Pa. communities

BOB POTTER

Boalsburg

More than 500 U.S. colleges and universities require students returning to campus this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These are small colleges and large universities, including Big Ten members Rutgers, Maryland, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, and Michigan.

In Pennsylvania, more than 35 private colleges require student vaccinations.

However, neither Penn State, including University Park and all its campuses, nor any of the PA State Universities, requires their students to be vaccinated. That’s over 30 towns and cities in Pennsylvania with thousands of students potentially unvaccinated.

This is a growing public health disaster that will put students, faculty, staff, and residents of these communities at risk for the virus and the Delta variant. This is pure lunacy — and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to understand why this is happening.

It’s not a coincidence that each of Pennsylvania’s state colleges and universities receives funding from our Republican-controlled legislature. Of course, the legislators never actually forbid our colleges from issuing vaccination mandates. They don’t have to. The college presidents know where their money comes from.

Looked at another way, if legislative leaders such as Jake Corman and Kerry Benninghoff wanted Pennsylvania colleges to require vaccinations, they would have shouted it from the rooftops. But they didn’t, and so they will be complicit if COVID cases and deaths increase in college towns across the state.

Corman and Benninghoff may play dumb about why we have no student vaccination requirements, but all should know who is guilty when more deaths occur.

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