DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Due to the high COVID-19 infection rates in the region, the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, and other factors, Averett University will now require on-campus students and employees to be vaccinated, unless they have an approved exemption.

According to the university, students and employees who do not have an approved medical or religious exemption need to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Thursday, Sept. 30. To meet the school’s vaccine requirement, on-campus students and employees may choose to take:

  • Two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, with the first shot completed by Sept. 30, and the second taken within the subsequent timeframe for that specific vaccine
  • One shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Sept. 30.

School officials say this mandate includes all students who come to Averett’s campuses – both residential and commuter – as well as all campus employees, including third-party, on-campus vendor employees.

On Monday, Aug. 23, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.” They help to decrease the spread of COVID-19 (including the Delta variant), minimize the potentially severe consequences of infection and keep infected patients out of hospitals. Currently, 95% of COVID-19 cases in our region requiring hospitalization are unvaccinated patients.

This vaccine requirement is yet another tool among our many mitigation strategies that will position us and other institutions of higher education to maintain a safer and healthier campus community for all.

Averett University Facebook post

This news comes as the Averett University COVID-19 Data Dashboard reports three positive cases in isolation and five people in quarantine as of Wednesday, Sept. 1. In addition, the dashboard says there have been a total of 13 positive virus cases reported since Aug. 23, 10 of which have recovered.

In partnership with Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Averett University says it will continue to host vaccination clinics on campuses, but you can also schedule off-campus vaccine appointments through vaccinate.virginia.gov.

The next on-campus vaccination clinic for students, faculty and staff is set to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 in the Averett Student Center. All three coronavirus vaccines will be available at the event, so follow this link to register for your appointment.

Once you are vaccinated, you should upload your vaccination card to the LiveSafe app or email it to health@averett.edu.

Meanwhile, school officials say students and employees can apply for medical and religious exemptions in the Office of Health Services in the Galesi Family Student Success Center. However, philosophical exemptions will not be allowed.

As for any noncompliant on-campus students or employees, the university will “take a phased approached,” according to a statement on the Averett University website.

Any unvaccinated on-campus student or employee — no matter their exemption status — will have to undergo mandatory COVID-19 PRC testing every week and then submit those test results via the LiveSave app or by emailing health@averett.edu, with the first test result due Wednesday, Sept. 22. There are numerous off-campus testing sites, such as pharmacies.

In addition to weekly testing, noncompliant students and employees will reportedly be subject to progressive accountability, up to and including separation from Averett University.

Meanwhile, student-athletes and athletics staff will continue to follow the athletics department’s testing procedures.

For more information about COVID-19 testing; face coverings; and policies for classes, campus life, events, and visitors at Averett University, click here.

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