Classes at many Hoosier colleges, including Ball State University, begin on Monday. Students and faculty will return to campus for a second academic year in a global health pandemic.
At the traditional academic year opening speech Friday, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns told faculty that in-person classes are vital to show the importance of higher education.
“Please remember that every moment you are given to interact face-to-face with one of our students, it’s an opportunity. It’s a gift. And please know that your engagement with them will change their lives.”
Mearns says since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, more than 10,000 students have earned their Ball State degree.
Ball State, which highly encourages the COVID-19 vaccine, says about 62 percent of all registered students and 73 percent of employees report being vaccinated, as of earlier this week.
Mearns says he respects the decision of Hoosier schools that require the vaccinations, but –
“We’re strongly encouraging, and incentivizing, and doing everything we can to make vaccines convenient. And our approach is working. We’re not done yet and we’re going to continue to make progress.”
Mearns says more than 72 percent of the students who will live in residence halls are vaccinated.
Across the state, Purdue University says 75 percent of its students and faculty are fully vaccinated. At Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame, where vaccinations are required, those numbers are 85 percent and 90 percent, respectively.