Virginia Tech University Approves 1,600 COVID-19 Vaccine Exemptions, 95% Of Students Are Vaccinated

United States North America COVID-19 Higher Education News by Erudera News Nov 15, 2021

Virginia Tech University

95 percent of students at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg are now vaccinated against COVID-19, and the university has approved a total of 1,600 vaccine exemptions.

As the Associated Press reports, the university has authorized these student exemption requests with the condition that students perform COVID-19 tests once a week.

According to Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, exemptions were granted to find a balance in how the university approaches its unvaccinated community.

“How harshly do you want to punish people? Do you say that if you aren’t vaccinated, you won’t be allowed on campus?. We didn’t want to go that far,” Sands said.

In addition to students, 94 percent of employees at the university are also vaccinated for COVID-19, while six percent remain unvaccinated or have received exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Virginia Tech has been requiring all university students and employees, including full-time and part-time faculty, staff, and wage, to be vaccinated since August 19, 2021, allowing exemptions for medical reasons and “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

In one of his previous messages to the Virginia Tech community, President Tim Sands asked all students and employees who can be vaccinated, to vaccinate, ensuring that those who cannot be vaccinated be able to return to campus life and in-person education.

“COVID-19 has a proven ability to mutate and very likely will be with us in varying degrees for the foreseeable future. We will adapt and manage this challenge in a way that protects the health of our community and allows for the fullest Hokie experience,” he said.

The university set October 1, 2021, as the deadline for employees to report if they have received the full course of vaccine doses, depending on the vaccine, or to get an exemption, emphasizing that it will take disciplinary actions for those who do not meet the requirements.

For the 2021/22 academic year, the university did not introduce a COVID-19 quarantine program. However, in order to provide a full and safe experience, the university requires masks while:

  • riding Blacksburg Transit or other forms of mass transportation
  • visiting or working at Schiffert Health Center
  • at the Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety Occupational Health Clinic

Out of 37,000 students enrolled at Virginia Tech during the fall semester, 134 students were disenrolled after failing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, meaning that they did not manage to show proof of vaccination or vaccine exemption.

The university stated that it did not know if any of the disenrolled students were not planning to return for reasons not related to the vaccine mandate.

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