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Boston University to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students

The Tsai Performance Center on the campus of Boston University.
The Tsai Performance Center on the campus of Boston University.Steven Senne/Associated Press

Boston University will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall, University President Robert Brown said in a statement Friday.

“Boston University will require all students enrolled in classes on our campuses to be vaccinated before the start of classes in the fall of 2021,” Brown said in the statement, which was e-mailed to the students, and BU “will make every effort to vaccinate students if they arrive on campus without vaccination.”

Students will be required to submit documentation to the university verifying that they have been vaccinated, the statement said.

Wearing masks in gatherings, such as classrooms, “may be required, at least as we start the fall semester,” the statement said, and the university will continue COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. BU does not plan to require asymptomatic, vaccinated students to quarantine this fall, in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the statement.

“Our goal is to move to a ‘new normal’ in the fall that includes only minimal social distancing, where all our facilities are open, students can move freely between residences, and guests are welcome,” the statement continued. “The key to achieving this state will be vaccination of nearly everyone in our community, especially our students.”

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Noting that international students may have been immunized with vaccines that have not yet been approved for use by regulators in the United States, Brown said in the statement that the university is in the process of “assessing how to treat these vaccinations,” and will communicate with students with future guidance.

“We expect that international vaccines with efficacy similar to US-based vaccines will be accepted to satisfy the intended BU requirement, unless federal or state guidelines mandate otherwise,” the statement said.

BU’s announcement comes as other colleges in New England announced similar mandates. Northeastern University and Brown University in Rhode Island said Tuesday they would require students to be vaccinated against the virus before returning to the campuses this fall.

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Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.