International Students and U.S. vaccination: A Tale of Confusion

The world is consistently gearing up for the third wave of Delta variant that is reportedly more harmful than the second wave. The students are also prepping to leave their homes in the next 15 days to begin traveling to their respective universities. However, even before leaving, the confusion and vagueness have remained intact regarding vaccine and COVID guidelines, especially in the United States. While the rest of the study destinations have regulated a specific set of regulations from the concerned higher authorities, the U.S has kept the international students in the dark yet.

Due to the federal government’s no standard mandate over the COVID vaccine or guidelines specific to COVID-19 for the incoming international students, the colleges, universities, and the various states in the U.S have regulated their different guidelines in different states. As a result, students coming from other countries are in utter confusion over the standard measures to follow wherever they go in the U.S. The most considerable confusion for the international students has arisen over a rumor surfacing about the need for additional vaccine shots required based on every state’s restriction for COVID.

Since the U.S authorities have not been able to issue a set of standard guidelines yet for all the universities/colleges in every state, it has become essential for these universities to develop their regulation considering the safety of their staff and beginning a secure study environment inside the campus. The universities allow only international students on the campus who have got their FDA or WHO-approved vaccine shots. But, more students are coming from India, where the vaccine in the market still needs to get approved by WHO and/or FDA. Hence, students from India are to remain quarantined when they land in the U.S before entering the campus.

Due to receiving unapproved vaccines, students must remain quarantined for two weeks and schedule an additional vaccine shot in their respective university vaccine program or the nearest healthcare centre. In this period of two weeks, the students must continue their remote learning from their place of quarantine. One of the Association of American Colleges and Universities sources stated that each state has its regulation set in line. These strict vaccine requirement has made a significant decline in enrolment number in various universities in the U.S.

It is not just the vaccine regulations differing in every U.S state, but also the specific COVID regulations different in every state that has caused students to be confused over what to follow and whatnot, especially during such a critical situation as the present. The Association of American Colleges and Universities president, Lyn Pasquerella, said that the institutions should have proper communication with their students. Before coming to the study destination, they are clear about the related state policy and the university guidelines.

The post-pandemic world is already in a dilemma for the students leaving their comfort zone and stepping into a distant land. Keeping separate guidelines in every state has led to students facing much trouble following the regulation, resulting in extra pennies to quarantine themselves after they reach the destination. The authorities from Higher Education Organization in the U.S have also given a statement saying that the different mitigation strategies imposed by the various states will only increase the chances of spreading the infection.

As the various people living in different states travel domestically, it confuses them. Students could not be kept in-bound inside their accommodation. They would eventually go out and meet other local people or students. Hence, it is a higher risk for such students to contract the infection. Lynn Pasquerella, the Association of American Colleges and Universities president, mentions that the universities and states should make their laws based on the standard CDC guidelines and responsibly communicate them to their respective students.

However, due to the state’s restriction over public health tools, universities have to compromise their protection for students and staff. These restrictions need to be a bit lightened so that the international students do not have to bear the consequence of no standard measures all over the U.S.

 

Let’s Wrap Up!

Vaccination requirements and the need for standard guidelines are the two things helping the infection to be kept on a bay. However, the uncertainty over what to follow and new guidelines in every new state/university would not allow students from another country. It would only discourage students from the rest of the world from stepping towards their dreams in the U.S.

Hence, the U.S should work on developing and instructing the same laws in every state. So that students know before about the documentation and vaccine requirements and prepare themselves accordingly. At the same time, they travel to the U.S. Keeping discrepancies and confusion would only result in increased infection and the risk of universities getting closed again.

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