University of Virginia to require student vaccinations

University of Virginia to require student vaccinations
© Greg Nash

The University of Virginia will require students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the next academic year.

The university said in a school-wide email Thursday that students must provide proof of vaccination by July 1 in order to return to campus and attend in-person classes. Students can requests medical or religious exemptions, which would subject them to weekly coronavirus testing and other mitigation measures.

Students who are not fully vaccinated and do not qualify for an exemption will not be allowed back on campus after July 1.

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“This approach will enable our students to return to a residential academic setting where they can live, study, and gather together safely,” university officials said in the email.

Vaccinations are not required for university staff and faculty, but administrators are encouraging employees to get vaccinated. The school said it would monitor vaccination rates among employees going forward as to determine whether to require shots.

Other colleges have recently announced mandatory vaccinations for students returning to campus. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Former co-worker accuses Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in NYT essay NY health chief criticized over state's COVID-19 response resigns MORE (D) said last week that all students returning to the State University of New York and City University of New York for the fall will need to get vaccinated.

Thursday's announcement from the University of Virginia comes on the heels of the school saying it will no longer require fully vaccinated students and staff to wear masks on campus. That order followed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) lifting the state’s indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated students after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance saying fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in most settings.

University officials said they expect “widespread vaccination will allow most classes to be offered in-person only, without a concurrent virtual option and without the strict spacing and capacity limits needed during the 2020-21 academic year.”