College of the Desert responds to vaccine requirements across several CA colleges

Taylor Martinez & City News Service

College of the Desert in Palm Desert released a statement in response to several California colleges announcing their decision to require coronavirus vaccinate for students, faculty and staff returning to campus in the Fall.

“As we work towards allowing more on-campus activities in the coming months, the College is continuing to evaluate and refine its Return to Campus plan taking into account various scenarios that include Governor Newsom’s projections for broader openings throughout the state. The safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority and we will continue to work with officials to implement County and State mandates, including any requirements that call for vaccinations.” – Interim Superintendent/ President Jeff Baker

Last week the California State University and University of California systems jointly announced they intend to require all students, faculty and staff returning for on-campus classes and activities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The requirement, however, would not take effect until one or more of the COVID vaccines receives “full approval” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are widely available. Current vaccines are being administered under emergency-use authorizations from the FDA.

The universities’ planned vaccination requirement will take effect upon “full approval” occurring or the beginning of the fall semester, whichever is later. Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna are both in what is known as Phase 3 Efficacy Trials and could apply to the FDA for full approval of the vaccines at any time.

CSU and UC officials said the planned requirement will be discussed with faculty and student representatives, along with labor groups. But they opted to announce the planned requirement Thursday so all members of the campus community can start arranging to get vaccinated before the fall term begins.

Both university systems are expected to allow for exemptions based on medical or religious grounds.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California Community Colleges, said decisions about requiring vaccinations at its campuses will be left to individual community college districts across the state. But Oakley urged all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated.

“Californians 16 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated, so we want everyone to take this important step in protecting themselves and their communities so we can put this pandemic behind us,” Oakley said. “With many of our campuses serving as vaccination hubs, we are encouraged by the progress of vaccination deployment in our state.”

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