Ripon College updates COVID-19 vaccination policy

Dear Ripon College students and parents,

Our primary concern is — and has been for the past year and half — to keep our campus community as safe and healthy as possible until the threat of the COVID-19 virus has subsided. Thanks to our students, dedicated staff and faculty and prudent guidelines, Ripon’s 2020-21 academic year had a limited number of positive cases.

Earlier this summer, we decided on a policy of strongly encouraging all Ripon students to get a vaccination before the start of the semester. We also reserved the right to change our course depending on circumstances.

We are changing our policies in advance of the fall semester because of a significant shift over the past month in the number of positive cases in Fond du Lac County, as well as clearer information regarding the early reported numbers of unvaccinated Ripon students coming to campus. Our new policies mirror what most of the schools in our academic consortium (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) and our athletic conference (Midwest Conference) already are doing to try to keep their campuses as safe as possible.

In order to have the best opportunity for a healthy academic year in person and as normal a year as possible, all incoming students now will be required to have both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine by Oct. 1. Students may, however, seek a waiver from the vaccination for health, religious or strongly held philosophical reasons. The vaccination waiver form is short and simple but must be completed prior to the start of classes on Aug. 30 if you intend to seek an exemption.

Students who choose to not receive a COVID-19 vaccination — for whatever reason — will be required to test regularly for COVID-19. The College will provide a full testing schedule for unvaccinated students closer to the start of the semester. Per NCAA and Midwest Conference guidelines, unvaccinated student-athletes will be required to test more frequently in order to be allowed to participate in intercollegiate sports.

We encourage all of our students to get a vaccination in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community.

The College will provide free (Moderna) vaccinations to students on Thursday, Sept. 2, with the second dose on Thursday, Sept. 30.
Walgreens in Ripon (1203 Fond du Lac St., an approximate five-minute drive from campus) offers COVID vaccination appointments that must be scheduled online.
Ripon Drug (a three-minute walk from campus) also offers free COVID vaccinations, but you must call (920-748-5174, option 1) to schedule an appointment.
Green Lake County Health and Human Services (Green Lake County Government Center, 571 County Road A, a 15-minute drive from campus) offers free COVID vaccines without an appointment every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ripon Medical Center Clinic offers vaccinations from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 920-748-3520 to schedule.

Our indoor masking mandate remains in effect for all indoor public spaces.

We do not move forward with our new policy lightly and understand that the vaccine question is a deeply held philosophical question for some of our students and their families. We feel strongly that our primary responsibility is to create a safe and healthy campus environment. I look forward to welcoming you to campus later this month.

Sincerely,

Zach Messitte
President


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