The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has allowed colleges around the U.S. to begin preparing for in-person classes in the fall. As a result, however, the idea of requiring students to get vaccinated before they are allowed back on campus has become a topic of discussion.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for emergency use, some legal scholars believe colleges are concerned about whether mandating the vaccine for students will result in legal consequences, AP News reports.

Kenneth Henderson, the chancellor of Northeastern University, said mandating the vaccine on campus could make students and staff members feel safe when they return to in-person learning.

“It takes away any ambiguity about whether individuals should be vaccinated,” he said. “It also provides a level of confidence for the entire community that we are taking all appropriate measures.”

Although some colleges want to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students, federal laws state exemptions are to be made for those who opt out of receiving the vaccine based on medical reasons. As noted by the AP, most schools also offer vaccine exemptions for religious reasons.

Schools like Brown University won’t allow students who don’t meet the exemptions and refuse the vaccine on campus. Those who opt-out will be required to either file a petition to study remotely or take a leave of absence in the fall.

As previously reported, at least one dozen U.S. universities have announced students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they want to return to campus. Duke, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Northeastern are among the schools that plan to make students show proof of their vaccination to return to class on campus.

Meanwhile, some universities like Brown, Nova Southeastern, and Syracuse will also require faculty members to be vaccinated when they return in the fall.

Antonio Calcado, leader of the Rutgers University COVID-19 task force, told NPR he believes it’s best to mandate the vaccine on campuses to keep faculty and students safe during in-person learning.

“Vaccinations are an important tool for making the fall semester safe,” he explained. “We felt that just simply encouraging would not have the same effect as a requirement.”

By April 19, President Biden has promised all adults in the U.S. will become eligible for the vaccine in every state.

An empty classroom is pictured. pixabay