The University of Maine system has announced that it will no longer require in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, though it is still encouraging students to do so.

The new guidelines take effect starting in May. While no longer required, the new policy states that “The university strongly encourages all students, employees, and visitors to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination and booster shots when eligible.”

The original policy required vaccination “and strongly suggested individuals to remain up-to-date.” The policy offered exemptions for remote-only students, as well as “religious and medical reasons.”

The new policy added that students may still need a COVID-19 vaccination “due to requirements of third-party locations, such as student placement sites.” 

The policy also still urges students and employees to upload proof of vaccination and booster shots through the university’s online portal.

“I thank you for the role that each of you continues to play in our success and encourage you to stay up-to-date in your vaccinations,” said UMaine Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy. “What we have learned will enable us to deliver the learning research, service, and knowledge needed to move Maine forward in the face of future challenges.”