“No playbook on pandemic”
College vaccination policy in development

Adults who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to vaccinated adults, according to a study conducted this year.

Volunteers from medical fields and the National Guard staffed one of the first vaccination clinics on campus Dec. 2020. (Photo by Julianna Metdepenningen).

MCCC President Kojo Quartey’s mother was affected by these hospitalizations from the pandemic. 

“Because she had a stroke, she needed to be hospitalized, but there were no beds available when she needed medical attention,” Quartey said. “She later passed away.” 

With the goal of avoiding overflowing hospitals by lowering cases, COVID-19 vaccine mandates are being considered for large organizations such as MCCC. 

College administration is still in the process of figuring out what MCCC vaccine policy will look like going forward. 

“We are still in a holding pattern and investigative mode, but we will determine how this all works,” Quartey said. “We want to give individuals here on campus more opportunities to get vaccinated.”

With vaccination clinics being held throughout the semester on campus, Quartey said many of these opportunities aren’t being taken advantage of.

Sign on the L building (along with all other building entrances) reminding students and staff that mask are a requirement on campus. (photo by Emma Marion)

On Nov 4th, President Joe Biden announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require all businesses with over 100 employees to be fully vaccinated or have a weekly negative COVID-19 test. 

Previously, employers would have been required to have this policy in place by Jan. 4, 2022. 

A federal court ordered a halt to this mandate, saying it infringed on constitutional rights. 

Joel Fiedler, professor of social work, said the vaccine issue is more of a political issue than a health problem. 

Fielder, who lived through World War II, made connections from his experience to the pandemic.

“Before, they followed the damn rules and we won the damn war,” Fielder said. “We don’t win wars by being unpatriotic and going against what our leaders say.”

Quartey said there are still some campus groups that have not been able to meet since the pandemic started. This includes many musical arts.

Quartey said large groups are only allowed to meet if they can wear a mask and socially distance themselves.

It can be hard to keep masks on for certain groups like the College-Community Band, so only the student members of the group meet, unmasked, while socially distancing. Only 13 of over 100 members have been meeting.

Felder hasn’t been able to meet with the rest of the group since March 2020, which has caused him to lose some of his best players to other groups that have already started back up.

“I do believe that a [vaccine] mandate would cost us community members, but if that is our only way back, I would embrace the mandate,” said Mark Felder, director of the College-Community Band.

Quartey said that if the vaccine mandate does fall into place, fines will be at stake and MCCC will have no other choice but to comply.

“I wish I had all the answers but no one has the playbook on the pandemic,” Quartey said.