Community reacts to Miami students returning to campus


Photo provided by Miami University.

housands of Miami students will be returning to Oxford in the coming days. Some will be vaccinated and some will not. All will be required to wear masks inside campus buildings.

By Taj Simmons

In the upcoming weeks, Oxford residents will once again be welcoming an influx of Miami University students from around the world, vaccinated or not.

Miami announced an indoor mask mandate and additional testing for students moving to campus Aug. 5. However, those living off campus will not be subjected to the same requirements, and a vaccination requirement is currently illegal for public schools in Ohio.

In an email sent out to the Miami community, President Gregory Crawford explained the rationale in the change in COVID-19 policy.

Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our campus community,” Crawford wrote. “Public health officials have advised us that the safest course of action for a successful robust, in-person semester is to take preventative actions now.

Last year, cumulative positive cases at Miami University for COVID-19 totaled 3,302 from Aug. 17, 2020 to May 4, 2021.

With COVID-19 delta variant cases rising in Butler County, are Oxford residents prepared for the waves of students arriving?

The Observer posted an inquiry into the Facebook group Oxford Talk (OHIO) asking what people think of the changes in Miami’s COVID-19 policy on Aug. 11. In a little over 24 hours, the post was met with 26 comments.

Oxford resident and Miami student Rian DelVecchio said she thought the University did all it could, given the current circumstances.

I would like as many students to get vaccinated as possible, but I don’t think it should (or even can) be mandated until the FDA approves the vaccine,” DelVecchio wrote. “After that I think it should be mandated, except for the students that have legitimate reasons why they can’t be vaccinated (I think that these students then should wear masks).” 

DelVecchio followed up her comments by explaining that other vaccines are already required in many schools.

“Specific vaccines are required in order for kids to go to school, why should the COVID vaccine be any different?” DelVecchio wrote. “It will keep our community as safe as possible and keep things from shutting down again!”

Christy Capri, an Oxford resident, expressed similar thoughts.

“I think Miami has done a good job of handling all things COVID,” Capri wrote. “There was no precedence for any of this, so it’s not like there was a pandemic instruction manual for all to follow.”

Capri however, expressed disinterest in mandating a vaccine for students.

“As much as I would like to see more people vaccinated, I do not believe this vaccine should be required at this point in time.” Capri wrote.

Another Oxford resident, Lynne Hugo, disagreed with previous replies and said she wished students were vaccinated.

“Yes, I wish students had to be vaccinated. I understand the previous comment about it being a public university, limited by what the state determines, but if the question is do I wish all students and staff (with the obvious exceptions allowed) had to be vaccinated, the answer is yes,” Hugo wrote. “I hope that as soon as there is full FDA approval, the university will require it. I’m aware that many schools are already doing so.”

Meanwhile, the University is offering vaccinations to anyone connected to the school who wants one. The university announced July 28 that vaccinations will be given at Harris Hall, 500 Harris Drive, to anyone who is a Miami student or employee and their spouses and dependents who are at least 12-years old. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (513) 529-3000. Walk-ins also are welcome, although there may be waiting lines.