In a memo to NMSU students, faculty and staff on Monday, Chancellor Dan Arvizu announced that the university system will now require all students who are on campus for any reason to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a shift from its previous policy allowing students who are not NMSU employees to choose weekly testing as an alternative to vaccination.
Additionally, Arvizu announced that the university system will no longer require weekly testing for students and employees who have elected not to receive a booster or who have received an exemption from vaccination.
“Our community fought the battle against COVID-19,” Arvizu’s message states. “More than 91% students and 99% faculty and staff are already vaccinated. These numbers have allowed us to fulfill the NMSU mission during difficult times.
“Now, after consulting with the New Mexico Department of Health, guidance from the CDC, peers at other universities, and experts within the NMSU community,” the memo continues, “we are making some changes to our policies to align with current practices and recommendations.”
Arvizu cited the time-consuming nature of the test-monitoring process and uncertainty about the future availability of free tests as reasons for dropping the weekly testing requirement, which will end May 5. However, he encouraged students and employees to continue regular testing on their own as a way to help make timely decisions about quarantine and isolation.
As of July 1, 2022, students enrolled in classes who will be on campus for any reason must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption. Incoming new and/or transfer students must upload their COVID-19 vaccination records or an approved exemption by Aug. 1, 2022.
Arvizu cautioned that students who do not submit their COVID-19 vaccination records by those dates – or receive an approved exemption – will be subject to disenrollment.
The university system will also implement a new platform for tracking, verifying and monitoring compliance with the vaccine requirement. Arvizu said more information about that system will be forthcoming.
For faculty and staff, who were already required to become vaccinated or receive an exemption, the university will no longer track booster shots following the elimination of the testing requirement.
“We highly encourage boosters for all, but we define fully vaccinated in the same way as the CDC: two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of their COVID-19 vaccination,” the memo states.
An online town hall session is planned at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, to provide more information about the changes and how they will affect students enrolled in summer and fall 2022 courses. Students and their families can tune in on Zoom and can submit questions in advance of the session.
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Author: Amanda Bradford
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