As the COVID-19 pandemic carries on, the debate over whether students and staff should return to school in person in Fall 2021 persists. However, nobody should not return to colleges and universities until they are vaccinated.
The vaccine’s availability is limited now. In California, health care workers, those 65 and older are still getting theirs, along with some essential workers. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the vaccine distribution is broken down into three phases. Young adults and children will not be vaccinated until phase 3 of the distribution process. Now we’re at the beginning of phase 2, meaning there is a lot of work to be done to ensure everyone’s safety from the deadly virus.
NASEM estimated that there are about 87 million essential workers in a population of 383 million in the United States. About 13 million people have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, but to meet the herd immunity threshold, the U.S. would need to administer at least 1 million vaccines a day to return to normal by October 2022. In California, 5,291,495 million people have received the vaccine, according to the California Department of Health.
Scientific research has shown that young children are least likely to spread the virus, however, they are still able to contract COVID-19 and pose a potential threat to its spread. Ages ranging from 20 to 49, which is more-or-less the demographic for students and staff in colleges, are the most likely to spread the coronavirus.
According to the California Department of Health, there are 3,371,556 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 45,456 total deaths in California. It is important to take all the necessary steps to stay healthy and safe. Vaccination is one of those necessary steps.
As college students, we understand the desire to be back to school in person, but the safety of students, faculty and staff is more important. Returning to school too soon is unsafe and should not be considered until all are fully vaccinated and can provide documentation proving so.