LONG BEACH, Calif. (CNS) — Following in the footsteps of the University of California, the Long Beach-based California State University system announced Tuesday 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.