April 23 (UPI) — The California State University and University of California systems announced Thursday that they plan to require students, faculty and staff returning to campuses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The requirement is set to take effect when one or more of the available COVID-19 vaccines, which are currently being administered under emergency-use authorizations, receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, whichever occurs later.
Both university systems will also provide exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
“Receiving a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is a key step people can take to protect themselves, their friends and family and our campus communities while helping bring the pandemic to an end,” University of California President Michael V. Drake said in a statement.
California State University said it will consult with the California State Student Association, its academic senate and labor unions before implementing the requirements.
“Consistent with previous CSU announcements related to the university’s response to the pandemic, we are sharing this information now to give students, their families and our employees ample time to make plans to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall term,” Californa State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said.
California leads the nation in cases and deaths with 3.62 million infections and 59,992 fatalities since the start of the pandemic and has administered 26.82 million vaccine doses with 10.78 million people fully vaccinated.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would “fully open its economy” and lift all business restrictions on June 15 if vaccine supply is sufficient for those 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated and if hospitalization rates are stable and low.