Many schools returned to in-person learning, transitioning away from virtual learning. While mask mandates at Biola University and other private institutions are in place due to the global pandemic, vaccination records are still of debate.
All University of California campuses are requiring proof of vaccination for students to gain access on campus, however, certain private universities are not mandating the vaccination. Chapman University, a top private university in California, fell fast to the risks of in-person learning in a pandemic.
Classes for Chapman students began on Aug. 30, and within the span of the week, an outbreak hit. The university reported over 200 positive coronavirus cases among students and hundreds more in isolation.
According to KTLA, 437 total cases of COVID-19 were reported in Orange County, 221 of which came from Chapman’s student body. However, Chapman’s campus is 89% vaccinated.
Roughly 33% of undergraduate students are involved in Greek life. Even with a heavily vaccinated student body, students of the university suggest that maskless indoor parties and a rowdy orientation could be at fault for the outbreak.
However, given the timeframe of the outbreak, it is likely that the cause is due to gatherings in the days and weeks prior to the start of the semester, rather than in-person classes resuming.
In an interview with CNBC, infectious disease expert and RTI International Vice President of Global Health Richard Reithinger explained that the variant could be to blame for outbreaks among the vaccinated.
“The delta variant has been shown to be more transmissible than other variants, and vaccine effectiveness is slightly lower than for the alpha and beta variants,” Reithinger said.
According to ED Source, students at UC universities are more comfortable knowing there is a vaccine mandate. At UC Berkeley, 93% of undergraduate students showed proof of vaccination. Chapman’s vaccination population is not far off from a mandated UC school.
University of California’s system-wide President Michael Drake stands by the usage of vaccinations as defense.
“Vaccination is by far the most effective way to prevent severe disease and death after exposure to the virus and to reduce spread of the disease to those who are not able, or not yet eligible, to receive the vaccine,” Drake wrote in the letter.
According to Biola’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard updated on Aug. 27, there are currently three student cases and two faculty and staff cases. All positive cases are currently under self-isolation.
Face coverings are required for all students and faculty, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, when indoors on campus. According to an email from Vice President for Student Development André Stephens, the campus is reliant on personal accountability and expects students to perform daily self-health checks.