Vaccination FAQ for Students

Yes, all students who will be returning to campus in Spring 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes all residential and commuter students, undergraduate and graduate.  The only exception will be those students who are enrolled in ALL online classes or WP Online programs, which involve no on-campus instruction, activities, or services, and those who qualify under New Jersey law for medical and religious exemptions.

Unvaccinated students who enroll in fully online courses will not be able to switch to in-person courses during the program adjustment period.

WP is requiring students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to protect the health and safety of our community, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The vaccines are extremely effective and the best tool we have to ensure that we have a safe academic year.

It is important to note that in a survey of the William Paterson community, a majority of respondents indicated they would feel safer on campus with a vaccine requirement.

All students, residents and commuters, enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program with on-campus courses or requirements. Students enrolled in ALL online classes or in one of the WP Online programs are exempt from this requirement but are not permitted on campus.

Students may apply for religious and medical exemptions; however, the deadline to apply for an exemption for the Spring 2022 semester is January 10, 2022.  No exemption requests will be accepted after that date.

If you are taking ALL online classes or are enrolled in a WP Online program, you are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for the Spring 2022 semester. However, this means you are not permitted to come to campus for any reason. This includes attending any on-campus events, participating in on-campus activities, or seeking in-person services. You are also not permitted to change any of your classes to enroll in an in-person class or to reside on campus. However, many of the services you might traditionally come to campus for, such as advising or tutoring, are now available online.

If you are granted an exemption, you will be permitted to participate in courses, activities or intercollegiate athletics. You will be required to follow all of the COVID-19 policies/protocols listed below. Some outside agencies or clinical sites may not accept an exemption and may have further limitations.

If granted an exemption, you are required to adhere to the COVID-19 policies related to this exemption.

These policies include:

  • Exempt individuals are subject to regular University COVID-19 testing. When you are contacted to participate in on-campus testing, you must comply. In some programs, this will occur weekly. Residential students with exemptions are required to test weekly as well.
  • You are required to wear a mask while indoors (anywhere indoors on campus, including classrooms and residence halls).
  • You are permitted to remove your mask while eating. However, you must maintain social distancing during this time.
  • Your faculty and some staff will be notified which students are required to wear masks, and will enforce that requirement in your classes and in meetings with staff members.
  • You must maintain 6 feet of social distancing, when possible.
  • You are required to notify Counseling, Health and Wellness if you are exposed to, or are having symptoms consistent with, COVID-19. You may contact them at You are required to quarantine for 14 days if you are exposed to COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be required to isolate for 10 days.
  • In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus, the University, in consultation with the Department of Health, may require exempt individuals to remain off campus until the outbreak is over.

Violations of these policies will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, with possible disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the University with NO tuition refund.

At this time, students must receive one of the following vaccines in order to meet the fully vaccinated requirement.  This needs to be completed at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (2 doses, 3 weeks apart)
  • Moderna Covid-19 vaccine (2 doses, 4 weeks apart)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine (1 dose)

Public Health Officials consider an individual to be fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose of their vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is readily available in most communities.  In New Jersey, you can search for a vaccine site close to you via

You may also obtain your vaccination at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and other mass distributors.


We are requiring all students to be vaccinated prior to arriving on campus in order to protect the health and safety of the campus and surrounding communities. Unless an exemption is granted (as described above), or if you are enrolled in ALL online classes or in a WP Online program, you will not be permitted to enroll in, or attend, classes without the COVID-19 vaccine. Students enrolled in traditional online classes will still need to be vaccinated.

The following websites and videos provide information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines:

You may also view the interview with Dr. Avery Browne, University Physician, Counseling, Health and Wellness Center, who answers questions on the COVID-19 Vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting Covid-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days. Some people have no side effects.

Some of these minor side effects include:

Pain, redness and swelling in arm. Tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.

Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.  You cannot develop Covid-19 as a result of receiving the vaccine.

For more information about side effects or what to expect after you get vaccinated, you may visit:

The deadline to submit documentation of two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) is January 10, 2022. Students who do not receive their second dose of vaccine (or one dose, if Johnson & Johnson) by January 10, 2022 will have their in-person courses dropped from their Spring 2022 schedules.


Students who do not receive their second dose of vaccine (or one dose, if Johnson & Johnson) by January 10, 2022 will have their in-person courses dropped from their Spring 2022 schedules.


Yes, students can register even if not fully vaccinated. However, please see the University’s policy below:

Students must provide evidence of receiving their second dose of vaccine (or one dose, if Johnson & Johnson) or have an approved exemption by January 10, 2022 to remain enrolled in in-person courses for the Spring 2022 semester. Non-compliant students will be removed from their in-person classes after the January 10, 2022 deadline.

Students planning to remain unvaccinated will only be permitted to take online courses, unless approved for an exemption.

No, if you were approved for a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine, it was approved for one academic year (2021-22). If you were approved for a medical exemption, most often, it was approved for one academic year (2021-22). There are some medical exemptions that are considered “temporary” and include an expiration date which can be less than a year. If there is an expiration date that is less than one year, you would have been informed by the CHWC team.

Yes. Students who are enrolled in the WP at Mercer program are subject to all of the University’s policies and procedures, including the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. 

Yes. Students enrolled in programs that require for-credit experience at non-University locations, such as clinical placements at health care facilities, should be aware that host sites may have their own vaccination policies, which are separate from the policies of the University. Such students must comply with the policies of the host site. Students who wish to seek an exemption from vaccination for medical or religious reasons should request an exemption directly from their host site. Please be aware that not all host sites may be able to provide such exemptions. An exemption granted by the University does not automatically apply to these sites.

WP has successfully interfaced with the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS), which means that for anyone who was vaccinated in New Jersey and did not opt out of NJIIS, we will likely be able to obtain your vaccine information, so you won’t have to worry about providing it to us. You can verify if we have your information at WP Connect COVID Vaccine Portal.

If we do not have your Covid-19 vaccine information you will be able to upload an image of your vaccine card into the portal. 

Yes. Anyone who is previously tested positive for Covid-19 will still be required to be vaccinated. The immunity acquired post-infection only lasts approximately 90 days.

Students who have had Covid-19 should receive the vaccine as soon as their isolation period is over.

The federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine so there should be no out-of -pocket expense for students.

We understand that students not currently in the U.S. may not have access to U.S.-authorized vaccines prior to arrival. WP follows CDC guidance for people immunized with vaccines not currently authorized in the U.S.  Counseling, Health and Wellness will review each case individually and will provide guidance for all international students.

If you are fully vaccinated, submit proof of your vaccination to the WP CONNECT COVID Vaccine Portal.  Next steps will depend on the status of your vaccination series, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you have completed a Covid-19 vaccination series (meaning two doses of vaccines) with a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization, you will not need additional doses with an FDA-authorized Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S.. You will be approved for on-campus presence.

If you have completed a Covid-19 vaccination series with a vaccine NOT authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), you will need to complete an FDA-authorized vaccination series in the U.S..

If you are partially vaccinated when you arrive, you will need to restart your series in the U.S. We want to ensure our students have the highest levels of protection for the health and safety of the entire community.

You will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon arriving to New Jersey.  You will also need to obtain one of the U.S. approved vaccines immediately.  Until you are fully vaccinated, you will need to maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible and continue to wear a mask in the presence of others.

WP will continue to comply with all mandates from the State of New Jersey and public health authorities for mask wearing, and reserves the right to implement other measures for community safety consistent with public health guidance.  Any changes to our Covid-19 protocols will be shared with the community.  We will provide more updates on our COVID re-opening website as guidance or protocols change. 

WP will continue to follow the guidance and requirements of local and state health authorities.  The community will be notified of any changes to gathering or social distancing.

Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, be restricted from school, or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, as their risk of infection is low. However, they should still monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with Covid-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for Covid-19, and tested for SARS-CoV-2 if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine following domestic travel.

Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine in the United States following international travel.  However, fully vaccinated air travelers coming to the United States from abroad, including U.S. citizens, are still required to have a negative SARS-CoV-2 viral test result or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 before they board a flight to the United States.

International travelers arriving in the United States are still recommended to get a SARS-CoV-2 viral test 3-5 days after travel regardless of vaccination status.

Important Spring 2022 Semester Dates and Deadlines
  • January 10, 2022: Students must be vaccinated for the Spring 2022 semester
  • January 10, 2022:  Last day to submit proof of COVID vaccine documentation.
  • January 24, 2022:  First day of classes for Spring 2022 semester.