UMass Amherst Approves More Than 400 Students For COVID-19 Vaccine Exemptions
Many western Massachusetts colleges and universities are requiring students be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to campus, but they are offering exemptions.
UMass Amherst, Williams and Amherst College said the vast majority of their students have gotten the shots.
UMass said it's provided religious and medical exemptions to more than 400 students. Williams College has 16 requests for exemptions, but hasn't approved them yet. Amherst College said it's approved fewer than 20.
Mount Holyoke College said a total of 23 exemptions had been granted, a number the school said included students, faculty and staff.
Hampshire College declined to provide information on student exemptions. A spokeswoman for Smith College said its data isn't complete.
The institutions said some international students have been unable to get vaccinated in their home countries. The schools will help them do so when they arrive stateside.
Westfield State University, which is also requiring the vaccine along with other state universities and colleges, has not yet provided a number of exemptions.
Massachusetts community colleges don't have a vaccine requirement.
In April, the presidents of the fifteen institutions announced that while they strongly urge students to get vaccinated, they would not mandate it because of concerns about disproportionate access.