Sussex talk show host, legislators unhappy with Del Tech vaccination policy

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A vaccination order at Delaware Technical Community College is getting blowback in southern Delaware.

President Mark Brainard issued an order that requires vaccinations for all people who visit the campus.

“Due to the record-high Covid-19 incidence and hospitalization rates currently being experienced in Delaware, it has become necessary to require all students who participate in college programs and all visitors to college buildings or facilities to be up to date on Covid-19 vaccinations as a means of ensuring continued college operations and alleviating the crisis our statewide healthcare system is facing,” Brainard wrote in a letter to the Del Tech community.

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The negative reaction came quickly in Sussex County, with radio talk show host Dan Gaffney posting on social media stating that “Del Tech has lost its ever-lovin’ mind. “He followed up with posts urging listeners to contact Brainard and legislators.

Senate Republican Leader Gerald Hocker and Senate Republican Whip Brian Pettyjohn, both from Sussex County, joined Gaffney in criticizing the order, issuing  the following:

“Such a policy should not be implemented at all, but especially not during a time when high-skilled jobs are available and qualified labor is not. We acknowledge the need to protect students, staff, and visitors, and we have vocalized our support for voluntary preventative measures. However, there are a number of lingering questions left unanswered by the announcement. Failure to adequately address these concerns must result in the General Assembly taking action to ensure that this inclusive institution remains an educational option for learners of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs.”

The order requires all students and visitors to the campus to provide proof of vaccination and those five or older who attend child development centers, camps, and other activities.

Proof of vaccination is also required for those attending indoor events at the college beginning May 1. Proof of vaccination will also be required for students attending during the summer and fall sessions this year.

Del Tech will give exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

The University of Delaware has similar policies, and Delaware State University, which has gained national attention for its low rate of Covid-19 cases, currently bars the general public from its campus.

The Delaware Tech policy does not include the option of a person with a recent negative test being able to attend functions.

The landscape has changed in the past month with the presence of the fast-spreading Omicron variant that has led to skyrocketing demand for tests and hospitals running at capacity. Unfortunately, the variant has also made its way to the fully vaccinated who may not have symptoms but could be spreading the virus.

Hospitalizations have declined but remain well above the previous record set about a year ago when vaccinations were relatively few.

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