CINCINNATI — Xavier University became the latest Ohio college Wednesday to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students before the start of the 2022 spring semester.
Students must oblige to two deadlines:
- Before Oct. 18, students will be required to show proof that they either have received the first dose or are completely vaccinated. If they don't, they won't be permitted to register for the spring.
- By Jan. 3, 2022, students must complete their second dose and verify their full vaccination. If they fail to do so, they will be canceled from their spring classes.
President Colleen Hanycz said the university made the decision following an uptick in COVID-19 cases nationwide, in Ohio and even at the college.
"You may have noted a sharp increase in active student COVID-19 cases on our COVID-19 Dashboard. Cases are occurring with both unvaccinated and vaccinated (‘breakthrough’ cases) student populations, highlighting the challenge that our community faces," Hanycz wrote in a press release Wednesday. "The good news is that 77% of our students and 85% of our faculty and staff are already fully vaccinated, and we anticipate an increase in those rates as we complete the final stages of surveying student and employee vaccination status over the next several days."
The private institution is the second Ohio university to mandate the vaccine for students following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Ohio State made the move Tuesday after initially saying it would mandate testing for students who weren't vaccinated.
Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson said in a letter that students, faculty and staff have until Oct. 15 to begin the vaccination process.
“With Monday’s news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Ohio State will now require every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Johnson wrote. “The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19.”
Several other Ohio colleges and universities decided to mandate the vaccine prior to the FDA's approval, including Cleveland State, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University and Case Western Reserve University.
On Wednesday, the state reported its highest number of cases and hospitalizations within the last few months. Ohio documented 4,600 new COVID-19 cases and 277 new hospitalizations. That's higher than the more than 4,100 cases reported Tuesday. Before then, the last time the Buckeye State saw more than 4,000 cases reported in a single day was in February, according to state data.
Digital reporter Pete Grieve contributed to this story.