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Hope College not mandating masks, COVID-19 vaccine this fall semester

The college continues to track COVID-19 vaccination status of the student and staff body to help make safety decisions.

HOLLAND, Michigan — Hope College will not mandate masks or the COVID-19 vaccine this fall, the school announced Tuesday. 

In an email sent to students and staff, the school indicated everyone would return to the classroom in-person, and masks will not be required. 

While Hope College has encouraged students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated, it is not a requirement to attend in the fall. 

The school is asking students and staff to reveal their vaccination status through an online health portal. 

The state of Michigan now sits in the "substantial" risk zone for the spread of COVID-19, which is the second highest level of risk for the virus. 

Current CDC guidance recommends unvaccinated and fully-vaccinated people to wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. 

Many other West Michigan universities and other regional schools have mandated masks indoors as well as requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students. 

Yesterday, Grand Rapids Community College announced they will require everyone on campus to wear a mask indoors. The organization also unveiled a vaccine incentive program.

Since April 1, the Ottawa County Health Department reported 95% of cases have been among people not fully vaccinated. In the same timeframe, 91% of those hospitalized were also not vaccinated.

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