Following the vaccine mandate that was announced in May, university officials confirmed on Friday that the University of Virginia has dismissed 49 enrolled students who were unable to meet the mandate.
Following the mandate’s announcement, university officials stated that more than 96 percent of students have followed the mandatory conditions set by the university, with 335 students with religious and medical exceptions also given permission to join.
Students who were not registered as vaccinated were given the chance to confirm via a student portal, and if they were having issues with getting a vaccine, they were advised to contact student affairs, according to UVA spokesperson Brian Coy. Students were given until July 1 to confirm their status for enrollment.
Among the 238 students unable to comply with vaccination in the fall semester, 49 of them were already enrolled in classes, which means the rest of the unregistered students “may not have been planning to return to the university this fall at all,” Coy told CNN. Moreover, he also said on Wednesday that enrolled students can still update their status by Aug. 25 for re-enrollment.
Shifting mask requirements
In May, universities in Virginia softened the mandates for masks to be worn by vaccinated students, in accordance with the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reasoning was that a fully vaccinated individual could safely move around without wearing a mask after getting his or her final dose of a vaccine, as long as they follow social distancing rules and restrictions remaining in the university.
However, on Aug. 9, the university reversed the policy by making masks mandatory indoors, except for inside dorms, private housing or when alone in closed spaces, with an implementation date of September 6th. The policy was made in response to the rise of the surging delta variant across the United States.
Referencing the high vaccination rate, UVA President Jim Ryan states that the school is in a better position than before, hoping that it can resume its courses and activities for the fall semester. The high vaccination rate also extends to 92 percent of the school’s Academic Division staff; 96 percent among them included the teaching and research faculty.
The high vaccination rates also motivated UVA leaders into reopening events such as football and the Wahoo Welcome events for the fall semester.
Citing the spread of the Delta variant, universities and schools across the United States have made vaccinations and masks mandatory, with some even rewarding students with offerings of significant monetary value upon being vaccinated.
Students at Quinnipiac University who are not vaccinated will be fined $100 per week and have their access to the school’s Wi-Fi severed, should they not confirm their status by September 14th.
According to digital magazine University Business, hundreds of schools nationwide require some form of COVID vaccine for students (the list includes schools with only resident-required vaccines). The magazine also noted that most schools requiring vaccination for COVID do allow for religious or personal belief exemptions.
The University of Virginia is not unique in requiring the vaccine, yet its enforcement of its requirement has been reported across the Atlantic; if UVA is not the first university to disenroll over the nationally touted mandates it is at least the most publicized for doing so, to date.
In Virginia as a whole, the Virginia Department of Health has reported 734,079 total cases, with a recent rise of around 16,000 cases from last Friday; almost similar to the numbers recorded last year. While statistics are just beginning for the delta variant, previous statistics did not consider Millenials to be high-risk as a general group.
There have been a total of 11,647 deaths chalked up to COVID-19 in the state, or about 1.1 percent of recorded cases.