Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NMSU requires all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State University will now require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu announced in a memo on Monday that the entire university system — including branch colleges — will require proof of vaccination for students. Previously, students were able to send in weekly test results as an alternative.

“Our community fought the battle against COVID-19,” Arvizu stated. “More than 91% students and 99% faculty and staff are already vaccinated. These numbers have allowed us to fulfill the NMSU mission during difficult times.”

This new requirement reflects a similar change in October and applied to all staff. The staff vaccine mandate received pushback from some employees last semester.

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Additionally, Arvizu announced that the university system will no longer require weekly testing for students and employees who have elected not to receive a booster or who have received an exemption from vaccination.

“After consulting with the New Mexico Department of Health, guidance from the CDC, peers at other universities, and experts within the NMSU community, we are making some changes to our policies to align with current practices and recommendations,” Arvizu stated.

Arvizu cited the time-consuming nature of the test-monitoring process and uncertainty about the future availability of free tests as reasons for dropping the weekly testing requirement, which will end May 5. However, he encouraged students and employees to continue regular testing on their own as a way to help make timely decisions about quarantine and isolation.

As of July 1, 2022, students enrolled in classes who will be on campus for any reason must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption. Incoming new and/or transfer students must upload their COVID-19 vaccination records or an approved exemption by Aug. 1, 2022.

Arvizu wrote that students who do not submit their COVID-19 vaccination records by those dates — or receive an approved exemption — will be subject to disenrollment.

The university system hinted at a new platform for tracking, verifying and monitoring compliance with the vaccine requirement, but details have not yet been released.

For faculty and staff who were already required to become vaccinated or receive an exemption, the university will no longer track booster shots following the elimination of the testing requirement.

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“We highly encourage boosters for all, but we define fully vaccinated in the same way as the CDC: two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of their COVID-19 vaccination,” the memo stated.

An online town hall session is planned at 3 pm Tuesday, April 19, to provide more information about the changes and how they will affect students enrolled in summer and fall 2022 courses. Students and their families can tune in on Zoom and can submit questions in advance of the session.

For information about the NMSU system’s COVID-19 response, including policies about vaccination, visit now.nmsu.edu.

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