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Gov. Mike Dewine makes vaccines available for college students before they go home for summer break

Baldwin Wallace
Posted at 10:07 AM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 10:07:22-04

BEREA, Ohio — Baldwin Wallace University freshman Anneke VanSlyke chose to come to Northeast Ohio for school because of its conservatory. She's a vocal performance major from New York, but her first year in college has been anything but normal.

"I'd like to sing without a mask on, that would be pretty cool to sing with people because we have online choir and online and online opera and stuff, to actually be able to sing in a community would be cool," she said.

VanSlyke said she's made the best of her freshman year.

"They’ve tried to make as much as they can work," said VanSlyke.

But a campus-wide email sent out Friday morning saying vaccines will be available to any student who may want it was music to her ears.

"I really hope that we can go back to that lifestyle. I'm not sure that we can if not everyone is vaccinated," she said.

The email is a part of Gov. Mike Dewine's push to up the state's vaccination rate. Baldwin Wallace University will receive enough shots for its student body of about 3,000.

"We're supposed to get vaccines next week, so we expect to be actually putting jabs in the arms probably later in the week," said Shawn Salamone, the director of public information for the university.

Salamone said it will be by appointment.

"If we really can marshal enough people, and use one of our larger athletic facilities, for example, we could have quite a few people per day and maybe get it done over several days," she said.

She said they've taken COVID-19 precautions all year long. They have contact tracing teams and have random COVID-19 surveillance testing for students.

"I have to do my surveillance test. They try to make sure everyone is good and keep the cases down," said Da'von McDonald, a freshman.

But despite their best efforts, there's still been small outbreaks throughout the school year.

"Probably the vast majority of the cases that have happened are often traced to off campus exposure," said Salamone.

Once students become vaccinated, they will no longer have to undergo surveillance testing and will not need to quarantine when exposed.

"A lot of us have had a hard time getting the shot," said graduate student Rachel Coleman.

Salamone said, at this point, vaccinations will not be required for any student.

"Some schools will say residential, it's required. We just aren't there yet with the with a final decision on what that's going to look like."

Something McDonald agrees with.

"I know some people are anxious or worried about it. I feel like it shouldn’t feel forced," he said.

But just the option of having it available, makes students like VanSlyke feel hopeful for a more normal sophomore year.

"I really hope that we can go back to that lifestyle. I'm not sure that we can if not everyone is vaccinated," she said.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccinations at college campuses will begin next week, Gov. DeWine says