A jogger runs past barricades blocking an entrance to College of the Atlantic in April 2020 after the campus was closed to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A private college in Bar Harbor is the latest that plans to require students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall.

The 350-student College of the Atlantic said Monday that those working and studying on campus in the fall will be subject to the vaccination requirement once COVID-19 vaccines gain full approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Last week, Bowdoin College became the first in Maine to say students will have to be vaccinated. More colleges across the country have been announcing vaccine requirements as they plan fall semesters that more closely resemble what college looked like before the pandemic.

College of the Atlantic has offered a mix of remote and in-person instruction this academic year, with weekly testing of 20-25 percent of those on campus to monitor the virus’ spread. The college on Monday said it will have some level of remote class offerings for the fall, but that having the campus population vaccinated will allow for gatherings, shared meals and an academic setting that’s closer to normal.


“Having a fully vaccinated community should allow us to teach, learn, and practice human ecology as it is meant to be done,” said Darron Collins, the college’s president. All College of the Atlantic students major in human ecology, studying the relationship between humans and their environment.

There will be some exceptions to the vaccination requirement for those who can’t receive it for medical reasons, and some accommodations for those who can’t get vaccinated before the fall term, according to the college.

At this point, most other Maine colleges and universities are encouraging their students to get vaccinated but not requiring it.

The University of Maine System has said it won’t require vaccinations at this point given that the FDA has authorized them for emergency use, rather than given them the agency’s full approval. But the state’s universities are planning for a return to mostly normal for the fall semester.