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President Mearns discusses Ball State's COVID-19 vaccine policy

MUNCIE, IN (Newslink) -- As Ball State students return to campus, new COVID procedures are being put in place to keep students and faculty safe. Along with wearing masks, everyone on campus is encouraged to receive the vaccine.

President Mearns said he feels as though getting the vaccine is a crucial part of getting back to normal. 

“We approached the vaccine as one of the many tools that we can use to mitigate the spread of coronavirus on our campus. Certainly, it’s a very important tool and I encourage everyone to get a vaccine. We know that it’s safe and we know that it is very effective,” said Mearns. 

President Mearns reflected on the 2020 school year and how Ball State has grown since the start of the pandemic. 

“About this time last year in the first couple weeks of the fall 2020 semester, we had a really significant spike in cases. Almost exclusively among our students. And we went out to our students and appealed to our students to follow those protocols… It was because of the students' compliance with those protocols that our numbers went down relatively quickly,” said Mearns. 

Mearns said he is hopeful there is an endpoint to the mask mandate on campus. 

“If we can continue on this course and we can maintain on-campus instruction, and if we can continue to see our numbers go down, then perhaps we can get to a place where vaccinated people can take the masks off... I don't anticipate that time coming very soon, but I'm hopeful that it will come soon.” 

To help students and staff get the vaccine, Ball State offered incentives for those who decided to get it. These incentives included bookstore and tech store vouchers, dining hall cash, and parking permits. Students and staff who applied were randomly selected to win one of the many prizes. 

Although BSU is no longer offering incentives, everyone is still encouraged to get the vaccine.

To get the vaccine students can visit the Health Professions Building or visit ourshot.in.gov to book an appointment. 

For any comments or concerns, contact the author at alexandria.balint@bsu.edu.