Aggie Health and Wellness Center nurse Marissa Archuleta administers a Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Lauren Naranjo during a walk-in clinic at Corbett Center in May. | NMSU photo by Josh Bachman
All New Mexico State University system students will need to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September or undergo weekly testing, the university announced Friday in a message to students from Chancellor Dan Arvizu.
This follows an announcement earlier this week of the same vaccine or testing protocol for all employees systemwide.
“Our top priority is protecting your health and safety – as well as the health and safety of your instructors and the staff who support your educational goals,” Arvizu’s message states. “For that reason, we are extending this vaccination and testing protocol to students at all campuses who will be attending classes in person or coming to campus for any reason.
“You have a choice about which protocol to follow – but, to be clear, if you plan to be on campus for any reason, by Sept. 30, you must show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19,” Arvizu’s message continues. “The pandemic is not over. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly in New Mexico and it will continue to evolve. In order to provide an in-person educational environment, we must follow the science, which clearly shows that vaccines are safe and our best defense against severe and life-altering infections of COVID-19. This is our best way to remain open and provide you with the best education possible.”
The university system also made an adjustment to its recently announced mask-wearing guidance. In her weekly NMSU Now Pandemic Action Team newsletter, Vice Chancellor Ruth A. Johnston, who also serves as the system’s chief COVID-19 officer, said masks will now be required indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status or social distancing opportunities.
“Many of our New Mexico counties are showing significant community spread of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC,” Johnston said. “As a result of this development, we must escalate our masking requirement – everyone, vaccinated or not, must wear a mask indoors on our campuses. This is a change from the what we announced just last week.”
NMSU leaders said details about how to submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccination or testing will be communicated to all campuses and offices around the state as soon as they are finalized.
NMSU President John Floros will be joined by Johnston and others on the first NMSU system town hall webinar of the fall semester at 3 p.m. on Aug. 10, which will focus on the new vaccination and testing protocols and the return to campus for faculty, staff, and students.