UPDATED with latest: Following in the footsteps of the University of California, the California State University system announced on Tuesday that it will also require all students and staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to take part in any in-person classes or activities for the fall term.
The CSU had previously announced plans to require vaccinations, but only after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to at least one of the vaccines. All current vaccines are being administered under an emergency use authorization.
“The current surge in Covid cases due to the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant is an alarming new factor that we must consider as we look to maintain the health and well-being of students, employees and visitors to our campuses this fall,” CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said in announcing the mandate. “Receiving a Covid vaccine continues to be the best way to mitigate the spread of the virus. We urge all members of the CSU community to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and announcing this requirement now allows members of the CSU community to receive multiple doses of a vaccine as we head into the beginning of the fall term.”
According to the CSU, the date by which faculty, staff and students will have to formally verify their vaccination status will vary by campus, but all certifications will be required no later than Sept. 30. The policy will allow students and staff to seek “medical and religious exemptions.”
CSU officials also said the system will have “a more expansive offering of virtual courses as compared to before the pandemic,” to accommodate those who do not plan to return to campuses.
Employees who are represented by labor unions will also be subject to the policy, but they “will not be subject to disciplinary action while the CSU is in the meet-and-confer process with its labor unions.”
The University of California system announced July 15 that it will also require also students and staff to be vaccinated before they can return to campuses for the fall. The UC had also previously indicated it would require the shots only after the FDA gave full approval to a vaccine.
PREVIOUSLY on July 16: The University of California will require all students and staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to return to campus for the fall term, it announced today.
The policy requires vaccinations “for all individuals learning, working and living at U.C. locations this fall, and participating in person in U.C. programs that may occur off-site, such as U.C. athletics programs or study abroad, with limited exceptions, accommodations and deferrals.”
The policy announced Thursday is a shift from April, when the university said it would require vaccinations only when at least one of the vaccines receives “full approval” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccines currently in use are being administered only on an “emergency use” basis.
According to the university, the new policy “incorporates input from U.C. infectious disease experts who reviewed the evidence from medical studies, which have found the vaccines to be safe and effective for preventing infection, hospitalizations and deaths, and for reducing the spread of this deadly disease.”
“The U.C. policy reflects our proactive response to the seriousness of a disease that has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States alone as well as to the rise of variants that are more easily transmitted and make
widespread vaccination more important than ever,” according to U.C. officials. “The final policy results from a several-month consultation period with the U.C. community, including faculty and student health physician directors, that revealed their strong support for moving forward with a Covid-19 vaccination requirement now.”
The Long Beach-based California State University system has not yet imposed a vaccination mandate for the fall. The CSU also announced in April that it will require vaccinations only when a vaccine receives “full approval” from the FDA.
U.C. officials said vaccination is “a critical step toward protecting the health and safety of the UC community and the public at large but also for ending the worldwide pandemic.”
“For the University of California, a public research university with more than 280,000 students and more than 227,000 faculty and staff at locations throughout California, the UC policy requiring COVID-19 vaccination is vital for return to in-person activities this fall,” according to the university.
City News Service contributed to this report.