Gen Z excited to be back at college but wants masks, vaccines

Less than 15% are feeling anxious but are wary of COVID-19.

The mask and vaccine requirements being installed at colleges and universities do matter to Gen Z students.

More than 80% of those polled in a recent survey from online platform Tallo said pandemic-related decisions are important to them, with three-quarters expressing concern about the potential for contracting COVID-19 on campuses. Some 68% said they were more likely to attend institutions that mandated vaccines, the same percentage that already has been vaccinated.

The survey, done of more than 2,500 Gen Z students – those born between 1997 and 2012 – from Aug. 9-22, showed that students overwhelmingly want heightened safety precautions in place – including vaccines and masks – as they go through the 2021-22 academic year.

“The results of this latest survey are indicative of how Gen Z is preparing for the new school year,” said Casey Welch, CEO and Co-founder of Tallo. “Students are taking the risks inherent to contracting COVID-19 — or passing it on to a family member who may be immunocompromised — seriously, and they expect masks and vaccinations to go hand in hand with their college experience.”

Most students are nonetheless “hopeful” and excited about this fall. Only 13% are “feeling anxious”, according to the survey:

  • More than 85% said those on campus who are unvaccinated should wear masks in public spaces, while more than two-thirds believe unvaccinated individuals should have face coverings on to start the year.
  • Around 75% said they would be OK with mask mandates on campuses and that masks would not impact their learning outcomes.
  • More than half of students said they are very fearful of spreading COVID-19 to a family member.
  • Nearly 80% said they are fearful of a shutdown of their campuses and a return to remote learning because of the spread of COVID-19.
  • Another 11% of those polled said they are planning to get the vaccine, while 9% said they definitely will not get it.

RELATED: Schools requiring masks | Schools requiring vaccines

Around a quarter of all institutions nationwide have installed vaccine mandates, with many more implementing mask requirements. The number of those requiring one or both continues to grow, and more institutions are exploring the possibility of vaccine mandates after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty).

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Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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