Important Covid-19 Vaccine Update

Important Covid-19 Vaccine Update

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2021.  Media Contact: Ann Pauley, Trinity Media Relations,

Trinity Washington University in D.C. will require students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to being on campus for the fall semester.

Message from President Patricia McGuire

Dear Trinity Students and Colleagues,

Despite so many challenges across the last 14 months, you have been absolutely heroic in persisting through the Covid-19 pandemic, the sudden switch to online classes and great disruption in your personal and professional lives, and so much external turmoil and heartache from the pandemic, political environment and appalling cases of racial injustice. We stand together, Trinity Strong, and we can be rightfully proud of the great teaching, learning, service and support we have shared with each other, our families and communities beyond Michigan Avenue.

I write now to ask for one more great step forward that we must take together. We truly want to restore the vibrant human community that gives the college experience so much powerful meaning and deep memory across our lives. For this reason, with all appropriate safety protocols, we plan to return to in-person classes in the fall, primarily in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Nursing and Health Professions, with some in-person and hybrid as well as online in our other professional and graduate programs. We also hope to resume sports and campus activities with safety protocols. We look forward to enjoying times together, perhaps in new and different ways, but in a community that sees and feels each other’s presence more vibrantly than zoom allows.

To do all of this, we also have to be united in defeating the scourge of the coronavirus. And the science tells us that there is one clear way to do just that: to get vaccinated. Vaccines rid the world of other terrible diseases – smallpox, measles, polio – and help to control flu. Because vaccines are so powerful in eliminating disease, children everywhere have to present proof of immunization to be in school, and we do so at Trinity for our College of Arts and Services students according to D.C. law.

In solidarity with the other major universities in D.C., we have decided that Trinity will require the Covid-19 vaccine for every person on campus – students, faculty, staff, vendor employees, Trinity Center patrons. We will have a process for medical and religious exemptions. Widespread vaccination of our campus population will ensure that Trinity remains Covid-free as we resume in-person activities, and will help our families and the communities we live in achieve the “herd immunity” that requires about 80% of the overall population to participate.

Not one of us wants to be the person who unwittingly carries a disease that might make others sick. None of us wants to be sick or face the prospect of a terrible illness or even death. The Covid-19 vaccines are the best way to ensure the health, safety and peace of mind of everyone in our campus community and among our friends and loved ones. I am mindful of the words of Pope Francis on the topic of the vaccine; in January, the Pope said, “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine. It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.” In short, getting vaccinated is a powerful act of social justice.

We know that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact in illness and death in the African American and Hispanic communities. We are particularly concerned that vaccine acceptance in D.C. has been lagging. Trinity can be part of improving this trend and making sure that not only our campus family but all families and neighborhoods get this protection from coronavirus.

The vaccines are now widely available in this region to persons 16 years of age or older, and they are free – there is no charge to get the vaccine. We have had many programs this semester about the vaccines and various issues related to them, including the myths and facts about vaccines, vaccine hesitancy and honest talk about problems related to vaccines. I hope these opportunities to learn more have helped you to understand the importance of getting vaccinated. More than half of the adult population in the U.S. has now received at least one inoculation, and about 25% are fully inoculated with very few side effects. Our campus survey suggests that about half of our faculty and staff are already vaccinated, and about one-third of our students, with most planning to complete the process soon. I, myself, completed my shots two weeks ago. Today’s announcement encourages you to do so, and asks those who have hesitated to join in with those who have already received the vaccine.

We will provide more specific details on how this will work for students, faculty, staff and others, and we will expect everyone to comply by the start of the fall semester in late August. Please hang onto your vaccine cards! We will have a process for medical and religious exemptions, and we will work with everyone to resolve any concerns individually. We want to approach the requirement as a caring community stepping up for the great cause of ensuring a vibrant life for everyone. We do not seek to penalize anyone, and we will help everyone get to the right place with a sense of safety and security.

Thank you for your cooperation in this, and in all of the very special ways we have learned to move ahead in this historic moment.

With gratitude,

President Patricia McGuire

Media Contact: Ann Pauley, Media Relations, , 202-884-9725

Vaccine Information: All persons 16 and older are now eligible for free vaccines. Here’s information on how to get your vaccine:

Additional vaccine information:


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