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Vaccination rates on the rise at Wilkes University, King's College

Both schools reported more than 80% of students are vaccinated.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A majority of people on campus at Wilkes University are now vaccinated.

At the start of the semester three weeks ago, the school reported 75% of students were vaccinated; that's now up to 81%.

"Just knowing that everyone is kind of taking initiative and trying to do their part is really comforting to know," Sophomore Kathrine Ermeus said.

Wilkes does not mandate vaccines, but it does require students and staff to report their vaccination status to the university.

"If there is exposure to a positive case, it lets us know who needs to quarantine versus who needs to get tested. That's really helped us manage a mixed community of people who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated," Wilkes University Executive Director of Communications Gabrielle D'Amico said.

Officials report similar numbers at King's College, which is also in Wilkes-Barre.

At King's, 82% of students are vaccinated; that's an 11% increase from when the semester started three weeks ago.

"Really good. It's like, everyone wants to be here. So it's like, if we're all doing our part to stay here, it's a really good feeling," Sophomore Chelsea Solis said.

Students who are not vaccinated are tested weekly at King's.

Joann Kosik, Director of Student Health Services at King's College, said that's one of the reasons more students have gotten the shot.

"They don't really enjoy being tested on a weekly basis. That was one of the issues," Kosik said.

With the Delta variant spreading, both schools are taking added precautions beyond vaccines.

Students and staff must also wear masks indoors.

"Having masks indoors is not even a point of being vaccinated or unvaccinated. It's just having a genuine care for the person sitting next to you in class," Wilkes University senior Donald Ballou said.

Although vaccination rates are on the rise, there have been 34 students who tested positive for COVID-19 so far this semester at Wilkes University. 

Meanwhile, at King's College, a total of 50 people on campus have tested positive since the semester began.