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Catawba College announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students, staff

According to a press release, those who will be on Catawba’s campus and have yet to be vaccinated will have 10 weeks to do so.
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:31 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – Students, faculty and staff of Catawba College will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, campus officials said.

According to a press release, those who will be on Catawba’s campus and have yet to be vaccinated will have 10 weeks to do so.

Students who do not fulfill the vaccination requirement will not be allowed on campus without prior approval, Catawba College administrators said. Employees who do not fulfill the requirement will be placed on unpaid leave while their employment status is determined, the release stated.

Those enrolled in the Catawba Online program are exempt from the vaccination requirement, staff said.

“Full FDA approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was great news and further strengthens the case for vaccination,” Dr. Jared R. Tice, senior vice president for the college experience and dean of students, said. “While our vaccination numbers continue to climb throughout the fall semester, we believe the vaccination requirement is needed to return the educational experience in and outside of the classroom to full strength this spring.”

Related: After two COVID-postponed games, undefeated Catawba College football team readies for return

While the Pfizer vaccine was the only one approved for licensing on Aug. 23, Catawba College will accept any of the vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, including the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, according to the release.

Students and employees may request exemption from the vaccine requirement due to a medical reason or a sincerely held religious belief, staff said.

Anyone requesting an exemption must do so by Nov. 15. Those granted one will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test at least once weekly and comply with all additional policies in place, according to campus officials.

“This decision was made in consultation with leaders across campus and with public health guidance from the CDC, the State of North Carolina, and our local colleagues in Rowan County and Salisbury,” Catawba President David P. Nelson said in his letter to the campus community. “A fully vaccinated campus reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 on our campus, which will make our community safer and healthier, reduce disruptions to quality of education due to isolations and quarantines, reduce the personal and institutional stresses associated with managing the spread of the virus, and free us to have more of the traditional events that our community enjoys.”

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