Students Ask Colleges to Prioritize Health & Safety

Data are clear: Gen Z expects masks and vaccines as part of their college experiences, and 83% say college COVID-19 policies are a major factor in going back to school

A survey conducted by Tallo, the nation’s premier online platform for connecting students with opportunities, found that the majority of Gen Z is prioritizing COVID-19 safety precautions at their colleges and universities of choice.

“The results of this latest survey are indicative of how Gen Z is preparing for the new school year,” said Casey Welch, CEO and Co-founder of Tallo. “Students are taking the risks inherent to contracting COVID-19 — or passing it on to a family member who may be immunocompromised — seriously, and they expect masks and vaccinations to go hand in hand with their college experience.”

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, 61% of students are excited and hopeful about the return to campus, while 13% are feeling anxious. Understandably, one in five K-12 parents — whose younger children are still unable to receive the vaccine — expressed anxiety about their child’s health and safety in a previous survey about the return to in-person learning. But 68% of Gen Zers surveyed by Tallo have already received the vaccine, presumably explaining their comfort levels of returning to campus this fall. Another 11% of those surveyed plan to receive the vaccine, while a mere 9% aren’t interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and 7% remain unsure.

Just as students expect colleges to take precautions, Gen Z is already being proactive about protecting themselves: Three in four students said they were concerned about becoming infected with COVID-19 and more than 57% of Gen Z is “very concerned” about spreading COVID-19 to a family member. Four in five students say their parents approved of their decision to receive the vaccine, and over 68% indicated that they are likely to attend a college that requires vaccines for enrollment.

This generation of students appears to be unphased by mask mandates: three in four would attend a college that requires masks on campus and nearly 88% would work for an employer that requires the same. Fortunately, their outlook on the impact of masking is largely positive, with 77% saying that wearing masks wouldn’t negatively affect their ability to learn.

What’s more, this concern for safety doesn’t end at campus gates: the vast majority (86%) believe all unvaccinated individuals should wear masks in public spaces, and 68% said the same about vaccinated individuals.

As the circumstances surrounding the pandemic change and new guidelines are implemented, these opinions may shift accordingly, but one thing is for sure: Gen Z is clear on their priorities, and COVID-19 safety precautions rank at the top of that list.

Interviews for this research were conducted online between August 9-August 22, 2021, from a national sample of 2,501 students. For more information, visit

About Tallo

Over 1.5 million talented individuals use Tallo to create digital portfolios to showcase their skills and accomplishments, connect with post-secondary institutions and companies, and access to customized career pathways and financial assistance guidance. Companies, colleges, and governmental entities work with Tallo to develop strategies to micro-target and connect with the Tallo community and build their future workforce pipeline. Tallo helps its partners understand Gen Z and Millennial talent, take a strategic approach to cultivate new and existing talent, and focus on quality matches with candidates who are the right fit. For more information, visit


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