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Student Update: COVID-19 Vaccine and Fall 2021

Drexel University leadership announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all undergraduate and graduate students in full-time and part-time face-to-face programs this fall.

4/20/2021 4:07:00 PM

The following message was sent to Drexel students on April 20:


  • This fall, we look ahead to a vibrant campus experience, with in-person teaching and full occupancy of our residence halls and dining facilities.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all undergraduate and graduate students in full-time and part-time face-to-face programs.
  • Individuals will need to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (or have been granted a medical/religious exemption) in order to reside in Drexel housing, take classes, or engage in any other activities on campus.
  • Students can receive any vaccine currently authorized or approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Dear Drexel student,


This spring brings a renewed sense of hope, as our Drexel community looks ahead with greater certainty to a vibrant campus life in the weeks and months ahead. This fall, we plan to return to a normal campus experience, with in-person teaching and full occupancy of our residence halls and dining facilities.  Vaccination holds the promise of a safer and more familiar life for all of us, and that is why we intend to require it for all students coming to campus at the start of the 2021 academic year, with limited medical and religious exceptions. 


Our decision to require COVID-19 vaccination was made in consultation with public health and medical experts and based upon review of the current science as well as trends among other institutions of higher education.  Vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available.


Drexel intends to require vaccination for all undergraduate and graduate students taking part in any face-to-face classes, participating in extracurricular or other program activities on campus, accessing any facilities on campus, participating in any team sports, or working in Drexel facilities. This applies to both full- and part-time students who spend any time on campus for any reason, whether they live or work on campus or off campus. Students from around the country who are enrolled through Drexel University Online and who will not be on campus will not be required to provide proof of vaccination. Even so, it is strongly encouraged that they receive vaccination for the safety of themselves and those around them.


Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated based on the specific circumstances of each request, but our expectation is that the undergraduate and graduate student populations on campus will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals.


To achieve this, Drexel is now offering vaccine to all current students through numerous vaccine clinics held on campus. While we expect students new to our campus this fall to be vaccinated prior to arrival, Drexel will also have access to vaccine on campus for those who need help completing a series or cannot access vaccine prior to arrival. Additional information regarding on-campus vaccination will follow.


Vaccinated students must provide documentation of vaccination—or have been granted a medical or religious exemption—within two weeks of coming to campus this fall.  Students can receive any of the vaccines currently authorized or approved by the FDA. More detailed information about providing documentation as well as how to request a medical or religious exemption will be provided over the coming weeks.  If students have already received a vaccination, they are able to upload their documentation through the Drexel Health Checker app.


International students will be able to receive a vaccine through Drexel upon arriving to campus. If students have already been vaccinated using a vaccine not currently authorized or approved in the United States, the University will work with these individuals to plan appropriate, safe vaccination. More information will be forthcoming concerning vaccination and international students.


The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination

  • Students are at high risk of infection by virtue of where they live, learn and socialize. According to CDC data, vaccinated people are in markedly less danger of infection or serious illness from COVID-19. Because fully vaccinated people can more safely gather with others with fewer precautions needed, we believe these requirements will further support our efforts to return to a more traditional college experience as safely as possible. For more information concerning the benefits of vaccination, please see the CDC’s website.
  • The mental health impact of isolation and quarantine have taken a significant toll on young adults. Vaccination will enable our community to take the proper steps towards reducing social isolation and illness in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Vaccination will provide an important barrier against new, highly transmissible and more dangerous forms (variants) of COVID-19.
  • Outbreaks among students have been linked to outbreaks in surrounding communities, including deaths in vulnerable populations. As a leading presence in our community, Drexel is taking all steps necessary to protect our community and our Philadelphia neighbors.

We are extremely grateful to have COVID-19 vaccines thanks to cutting-edge science.  In a collective effort to end the pandemic and the death and disease that result from COVID-19, more than 75 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated so far.


If you should have any questions about our vaccination expectations, please feel free to contact Drexel’s COVID-19 questions line at 215.703.2335 or email Before contacting us, we also encourage you to first review the Drexel COVID-19 website for specifics about vaccination.  


We are eager to see all of you back on campus in the fall, and we are grateful for everything you are doing to contribute to the well-being and success of the Drexel community.




John Fry


Marla J. Gold, MD
Director, Return Oversight Committee

Subir Sahu, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Success