News Releases

St. Bonaventure University

Vaccines required for SBU students this fall

Jun 23, 2021

Dear students and parents:

I know the past 15 months have been hard on everyone, especially high school and college students who’ve had to endure more restrictions than most people during the pandemic. This year presented extraordinary challenges at Bona’s, but I’m proud of the way our community faced them all.

The truth is, though, the Bonaventure of the last 15 months wasn’t the Bonaventure that generations of students have come to love, the Bonaventure that our new and current students want to attend. This is a community built on relationships — on personal, academic and civic engagement that couldn’t be fully realized under the restrictive clutches of a pandemic.

Since our spring semester ended, we’ve reflected on what our returning students told us about their COVID-19 experience and how desperately they want a return to the Bonaventure they know.

We’ve carefully reviewed ways in which our community can return to delivering the unique and welcoming educational and residential experience that most returning Bonnies will recognize and new Bonnies will embrace.

To achieve this, and to prioritize the health of our campus community, St. Bonaventure University will require all students — except for fully online, non-residential graduate students — to complete a COVID-19 vaccination and provide documentation by the time they return to campus for the fall 2021 academic semester.  This includes residential, off-campus and commuter students.

Limited religious and medical exemptions will be granted, and reasonable accommodations will be provided in accordance with guidance from public health authorities, St. Bonaventure policy and applicable law. If you seek an exemption, click here and scroll down to the “Vaccination Policy & Exemption Forms” header. For additional questions, please email

Specifics on uploading required documentation will be sent after July 4 and must be completed before residential students will be issued a room key or off-campus students will be permitted to attend class. 

Our decision to require vaccines is aligned with strong recommendations from the American College Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health. More than 100 colleges and universities in New York have issued similar vaccine requirements.

This decision was not made lightly, but the congregate nature of a university that’s predominantly residential would have left us with no choice but to continue enforcing — to varying degrees — the CDC-recommended COVID protocols that students had grown weary of: masks, social distancing and gathering limits in classrooms, residence halls, dining facilities and Richter Center; visitation limits in residence halls; restrictions on intramurals, clubs and organizations; continued pool testing and daily health screening; quarantining for exposed unvaccinated students; and altering campus living arrangements to separate vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

While we cannot be certain what, if any, public health measures related to COVID will be required in the fall, we anticipate that we will have more freedom on a fully vaccinated campus than if a significant portion of our campus community members are unprotected.

Congratulations to all the incoming Bonaventure freshmen who have graduated, or who are about to graduate this weekend. And to everyone, please enjoy your summer. We look forward to seeing you this fall.


Dr. Joseph E. Zimmer, Ph.D.
Acting President
St. Bonaventure University