Ticket price for this lottery? A COVID jab for Wilson College students

Vaccinate PA

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Truth be told, Dr. Wes Fugate, Wilson College’s president, would have been happier going with a more conventional approach to getting his student population vaccinated.

“If I could wave my magic wand, I would probably want to require vaccinations,” Fugate said.

But lacking a magic wand, and running a school in a county where scarcely 42% of the population has gotten even one COVID-19 vaccine dose, Fugate thought given the choice of getting vaccinated or getting kicked out, some students would have forgone their educations.

“And so we offered a lottery,” Fugate said. “One scholarship at $5,000, a second scholarship at $3,000, and a third scholarship at $1,000.”

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The deadline to show proof and be entered was Monday, and 64% of students did so.

That rate, in a relatively unvaccinated region, would seem to suggest the lottery worked, although it’s difficult to say how many students would have gotten a vaccine anyway. Allison Earnshaw, a freshman, and Amanda Smida, a junior, said they would have gotten vaccinated anyway.

But “I do know some people who got it here on campus just because of that incentive,” Smida said. “They’re currently struggling to pay for school, so even the possibility of earning that money is helpful.”

The drawing will take place next week.

Wilson requires masks indoors and requires unvaccinated students to get tested — frequently in the case of unvaccinated student-athletes, per NCAA guidelines. And the college has “de-densified” crowded spaces. Tables in the dining hall that previously had eight chairs, for example, now have just four.

With 29 COVID-19 cases this fall, or about three per week, Fugate said Wilson has among the lowest case rates among Pennsylvania colleges and universities.

“We’ve done quite well, he said. “And I always say that by knocking on wood, because it could change tomorrow.”

Among Wilson College faculty and staff, the vaccination figure is 85 percent, “which we’re really pleased with,” Fugate said.

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