2021 | Schools

Montgomery College to require employees, students to be vaccinated

People with medical, religious exemptions must be tested weekly

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This story was updated at 7:10 p.m. on Sept. 16, 2021, to include more information.

Montgomery College will require its employees and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an announcement from the school on Thursday.

All employees must submit proof of being fully vaccinated by Nov. 8. Students must submit proof by Jan. 7, prior to the beginning of the spring semester.

The vaccination requirement for students will apply to high school students who take dual enrollment courses at the college.

Both staff members and students can apply for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. If approved, those people would be required to be tested each week.

“If students and employees embrace a vaccination requirement, we will strengthen the safety of our campuses and their homes and the communities in which they live,” Montgomery College Interim President Charlene Dukes said in a statement.

Information about how to submit proof of vaccination will be announced by mid-October.

College leaders first disclosed in late August that they were considering a vaccination mandate for students and employees. About 82% of employees surveyed agreed with the mandate, according to data presented at the time.

Montgomery College employs more than 3,000 people.

Along with Montgomery College, the public school system has mandated that its employees provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by the end of the month. MCPS employees must be vaccinated, unless they have a medical reason to not be, as verified by a medical professional. The district previously allowed employees to instead submit to weekly testing in lieu of vaccination, but issued the stricter rules during a meeting this month.

The county government also will require its employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly. Some county leaders have called for the elimination of the testing option.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week said he is concerned that tightening the requirement could lead to staffing shortages in critical county operations.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com