Seniors’ thoughts on COVID vaccine requirements

Colleges to make vaccines mandatory for attendance in the Fall.


Matt Austin, Cameron Dolan, Ava Kim

Seniors (from left to right), Steven Bussanich, Nicole Buldo, Kathleen Disalvo, and Christian Downey will be attending colleges that have made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for the fall. Rutgers was the first to announce this mandate with a string of other colleges following quickly behind.

Rutgers University announced that the COVID-19 vaccine was necessary to attend the school in the Fall of 2021 on March 25. Rutgers was the first among many universities to make this decision. This announcement was followed by a string of other universities making their own decisions about requirements involving the coronavirus. 

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been authorized for those 18 and older, and the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for those 12 years and older.

Senior Nicole Buldo plans on attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which has made vaccines mandatory for attendance in the Fall.

“The whole thing is up in the air, no one really knows what’s going on and overall it’s all-new,” Buldo said. “It’s kind of scary, but at the same time you kind of just got to go with it.”

Senior Kathleen Disalvo plans on attending Syracuse University, who also has vaccination as a mandatory requirement, in the Fall.

“It’ll be easier to make friends, to see people, and meet people in your dorm,” Disalvo said. “I think it’s gonna be overall easier to be accustomed to living somewhere different with all these people now that we’re all vaccinated. We can all talk to each other and we don’t have to be held back from those kinds of activities.”

Although Disalvo already planned on getting the vaccine before the requirement was announced, Disalvo said “it only made me want to come to Syracuse more because of it.”

Senior Christian Downey, who plans on attending NYU [New York University] in the Fall, committed before the announcement was made. Downey said he thinks that the mandatory vaccine requirement will allow for more in-person learning and social activities.

Senior Steven Bussanich plans on attending Rutgers New Brunswick University, which has also made vaccines mandatory for attendance in the Fall.

“I just wanted to experience a real college experience without COVID, trying to get in the way,” Bussanich said. “That means requiring vaccines and I’m here for it.”

Buldo said that the vaccine will make the college experience more normal and she is glad to have gotten the vaccine.

“I think my school really prioritizes the well-being of students and one of the things for well-being is that you have to be able to make friends and you have to be able to branch out,” Disalvo said. “If you’re sitting at home in front of a screen and can’t do those types of things, we can’t have a normal college experience.”

Bussanich said that he was “hesitant” at first because the vaccine was brand new, but once he saw so many other people getting it, he decided to receive it himself.

“I feel like a lot of schools are gonna end up requiring it at some time,” Bussanich said. “Whether it’s now or later on, because I feel like it’s the right thing.”