Aug 27, 2021 • 17M

University of Maryland ends debate: Get vaccinated or don't go to college

 
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Veteran award-winning journalist John Rydell hosts Free State Politics, a thought-provoking weekly Podcast presented by MarylandReporter.com that features exclusive interviews with Maryland’s movers and shakers who provide insight on the news of the day.
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Free State Politics episode 9 examines how Maryland’s colleges and universities are struggling to return to normal as they navigate the lingering impact of COVID-19. Students at all University System of Maryland campuses are required to be vaccinated, with a few medical and religious exemptions. And masks are still required in public buildings on campuses. But Kathleen Tracy, professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says “We have highly vaccinated populations, so that if there are any positive tests, the chance that we’ll actually have to shut down is much smaller, because even if they do get the virus, they will not become severely ill and would not have to have a full two weeks of isolation or quarantine.”

Joann Boughman, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs with the University System of Maryland, says despite many obstacles created by COVID-19 over the past year, enrollment at most campuses this fall is actually up. She says, “At least two of our campuses have utilized some of the federal dollars in order to even further support financial aid. So some students who thought they might not be able to afford to come back to campus will, in fact, be able to come back.”

Rydell also speaks with Angelique Gingras, a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park. She talks about the COVID fears she faced last year as a freshman. “There was an outbreak in my dorm, and I managed to escape it, but my first thought was, ‘oh my gosh, am I going to have to quarantine, am I going to have to go to the isolation housing?’” Gingras says she feels more comfortable going into the fall semester, since the vast majority of her fellow students will have been vaccinated.

In his closing remarks, Rydell examines the 2022 race for Maryland State Comptroller. He says some candidates are not only touting their fiscal experience, they’re also promoting their positions on social issues as well, such as the legalization of recreational marijuana.