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Nation’s Largest Four-Year Public University System Mandating COVID-19 Vaccination for Almost 550,000 Faculty and Students

The nation’s largest four-year public university system announced on Tuesday that it is now requiring all faculty, staff, and the total student population that accesses facilities at any of its campuses to be immunized against COVID-19. California State University is giving this mandate beginning with the fall 2021 term.

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said in a statement issued on Tuesday, “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.”

He followed that with, “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. “

An official within California education declared that it was “evolving circumstances” that caused them to be “announcing the pending requirement now without waiting for any further action by the US Food and Drug Administration.”

According to CSU, “Dates by which faculty, staff, and students must certify vaccination will vary by campus due to differences in academic calendars, but all certifications must be completed no later than September 30.”

The CSU system makes up 23 campuses throughout the state and they have approximately 56,000 faculty and staff. Their student enrollment is at 486,000. All involved may seek medical and religious exemptions according to officials. Faculty, staff, and students don’t have to go very far to get their shot, vaccines are being administered on several CSU campuses.

It was reported in the Los Angeles Times that the vaccination policy would “largely rely” on the honor system, according to CSU spokesperson Mike Uhlenkamp.

The LA Times also wrote, “Students would have to certify that they are fully vaccinated or seeking an exemption and attest that their answers are accurate and truthful. A Cal State campus could independently request proof of vaccination as a next step in the initial certification process.”

Mike Uhlenkamp shared with news source KQED that the “goal” of Tuesday’s announcement “is really to get as many people vaccinated as possible so that we can have as many people on campus and so that we are all safe collectively.”

“We are planning to have the majority of courses and activities take place in person,” he said. “I think for the majority of students, they are looking forward to being back on their respective campus in person in the fall, taking part in those robust opportunities to engage with their classmates, their professors, the staff there.”

CSU officials expect “a more expansive offering of virtual courses” to be available for most campuses for students who plan to continue their studies but don’t wish to return on-site.

KQED reported that CSU is not alone in their state, “The CSU announcement comes less than two weeks after the University of California rolled out a similar mandate for its students and faculty, and a day after California officials said vaccine and testing would be required for state employees and health care workers.”

Administrators of the state led university said they plan to release the formal vaccination policy soon. This is a list of the campuses involved: CSU Bakersfield, CSU Channel Islands, Chico State, CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Humboldt State, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State LA, Cal Maritime, CSU Monterey Bay, CSUN (Northridge), Cal Poly Pomona, Sacramento State, Cal State San Bernardino, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San José State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU San Marcos, Sonoma State, and Stanislaus State.