Students walk across the University of Maine in Orono on the first day of classes. Credit: David Marino Jr. / BDN

As college campuses welcome students back for the fall semester, more than 90 percent of residential students across the University of Maine System have submitted proof that they’re vaccinated.

So far, the system says about 93 percent of students staying on campus have submitted proof that they’ve gotten a shot, and about 60 percent of off-campus students have done so. Like nearly all colleges in the state, the system is requiring that students be vaccinated this fall.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy said that while many students have yet to show proof of vaccination, he’s been encouraged to see some students get their shots shortly after arriving on campus.

“It’s a work in progress,” Malloy said. “But we’re feeling very good about the compliance and the desire to be a part of the team.”

Several vaccine clinics are being held on campus. And the system said that if students don’t get their shot or receive a religious or medical exemption by Oct. 15, they won’t be allowed in university buildings.

Malloy said those students may be able to continue their education remotely. But he noted that for some students, such as nursing students who need to be in-person for their clinicals, remote learning isn’t an option, and not getting the vaccine could delay the completion of their degree.

“So it prevents a personal difficulty for those folks,” Malloy said. “On top of which, they’re endangering themselves and anyone they come into contact with.”

So far, about 80 percent of full-time UMaine System employees have also provided proof of vaccination. Staff aren’t currently required to be vaccinated, but Malloy said he expects there to be a full mandate for employees within a week.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.