Emory joins COVID-19 College Challenge, part of White House ‘National Month of Action’

Emory Report | June 3, 2021

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Emory University is among the inaugural participants in the COVID-19 College Challenge, a project launched by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. The challenge was announced June 2 as part of President Joe Biden’s “National Month of Action” against the pandemic.

Colleges and universities across the country are invited to join the challenge. More than 250 signed up to participate prior to the launch; Emory and Agnes Scott College are the first two participants in Georgia.

Emory and other participating colleges pledge to take three key actions to help get their campus communities vaccinated:

1. Engaging every student, faculty and staff member;

2. Organizing their college communities; and

3. Delivering vaccine access for all.

“Emory is committed to provide vaccine awareness, education and access to each member of our campus community, and is strengthening that commitment by partnering with the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge to promote the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Amir St. Clair, the university’s executive director for COVID-19 response and recovery.

Emory will require all students to be immunized for COVID-19 for the fall 2021 semester, with exemptions for those with medical conditions or strong personal objections. The Emory Forward website provides comprehensive COVID-19 information for the Emory community, including how to schedule a vaccine

“We look to continue being a leader in our community and across the nation in providing each student, faculty and staff member with resources and access to get vaccinated — and doing our part to help the country reach its overall vaccination goal,” St. Clair says.

National Month of Action 

The COVID-19 College Challenge is one of several initiatives announced by Biden as part of the National Month of Action. The goal is for 70% of U.S. adults to have had at least one COVID-19 shot by July 4.

According to the White House, 63% of adult Americans have already gotten vaccinated, including 73% of Americans age 40 and over, and COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted as a result, with cases down over 90% and deaths down over 85% since Jan. 20.

Throughout the month, national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people and thousands of volunteers across the nation will work together to get their communities vaccinated. 

The National Month of Action will focus on these key strategies: 

  • Making it easier to get vaccinated and advancing equity: Tactics include free child care for individuals getting vaccinated and extended hours at pharmacies through June to offer more flexible vaccination appointments. 
  • Mobilizing the country to do more vaccination education and outreach: Projects include community canvassing, phone banking, text banking and vaccination events; a “We Can Do This” national vaccination tour featuring Vice President Kamala Harris; a Mayors Challenge to increase vaccination rates in cities; “Shots at the Shop,” an initiative to engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons; blanketing local TV and radio and social media with vaccine information; and the COVID-19 College Challenge.
  • Incentivizing vaccination: Thousands of employers and businesses are offering incentives for customers and providing paid leave for employees to receive vaccinations. New private sector incentives highlighted by the White House in the National Month of Action announcement include offerings from Anheuser-Busch, CVS, Door Dash, Major League Baseball, Microsoft, Kroger and United Airlines. View a list of incentives.