LAS CRUCES, NM (AP) – New Mexico State University says fewer than a third of its students had submitted proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Thursday to otherwise undergo weekly tests or leave university.
While 72.3% of university staff presented proof of vaccination, only 30% of students did so, officials said on Friday.
It’s not clear how many students who haven’t provided proof of vaccination by the deadline will provide weekly test results, officials said.
“We’re not where we want to be with our vaccinated students,” said Jon Webster, the school’s COVID-19 project manager. “We want to make sure that we all protect our students.”
Failure to submit vaccination information or weekly test results could result in student suspension or staff dismissal, officials said.
Students can get vaccinated at any point during the semester and stop the weekly tests required once full vaccination is achieved, Webster said.
“We see new submissions continue to come in, so we expect our final verified total to be significantly higher than what we see today and continue to grow over the next several weeks as some students and staff get their second dose and update their cards, ”said Webster.
He said the university continues to reach out to students through SMS, email, social media and other channels.
Several students said Friday they were unaware of the details of the mandate, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.
Second year Alvaro Oliva said he was vaccinated but hadn’t heard of the request.
“You get a lot of emails about your class and all that jazz, but the emails slip through,” said Oliva.
However, Senior Alisa Schott said it would be hard not to have heard of the request.
“It’s kind of everywhere,” said Schott. “My professors talk about it all the time.”
Freshman Ester Bocanegra said she was partially vaccinated and didn’t know which website to use to submit information. “I’m sure people are confused,” she said.
Sophomore Issac Duarte said the students are currently focusing on other things, especially the interim semesters.
“Vaccination isn’t really a priority for us,” he said.
The main campus of the university is in Las Cruces. It also has locations in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants, and elsewhere.