DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Nova Southeastern University has announced all students and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for its upcoming fall 2021 semester.
The university said on Thursday all students and faculty must be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1 if they plan on returning back to campus.
Leaders held a news conference on Friday where they said arriving at this decision was based on looking at the data surrounding vaccinations.
“We took a bold step in saying that we will ask people or require [that] to be enrolled at NSU, [you have] to be vaccinated,” said Chief Operating Officer of NSU, Dr. Harry Moon. “This is for faculty, staff, students.”
They added that with the extra protection of the widespread vaccine, the NSU community will be able to resume more activities and operations sooner, leading to a more — what they described as — engaged, educational and professional experience.
“The intent is to get back to the classroom, back to a more efficient, more productive educational environment as soon as possible,” Moon said.
The university said there are a few exemptions for those who, medically, cannot get a shot.
“This is about health,” Moon said. “This is about personal health and safety.”
Moon said CDC mask and distancing guidelines will still be in place. He said demand for vaccinations has been high and feedback has been positive but he does anticipate pushback.
“In society, legal challenges are common,” he said. “I would not find it unusual that we will not be challenged on this.”
The announcement came as vaccination efforts ramped up across South Florida. Second doses are now being administered at the rotating FEMA-supported sites and vaccine eligibility age is set to extend to all adults starting Monday.
“It took, like, 15 minutes and we get the second dose,” said Frank Bejar who received the vaccine. “We’re very happy.”
“I wanted the Johnson & Johnson, so I got here at 4:15 this morning, so that I could be among the first people,” said Caroline Lawson.
While vaccinations continue, a major mishap is expected to slow the efforts. Johnson & Johnson was forced to trash about 15 million doses due to an ingredient mix-up.
“We think it’s going to impact, not next week, but the following weeks,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, “and there will definitely be an impact on that.”
DeSantis said more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that were already on their way to Florida were not impacted.
“We’re getting a big dump scheduled next week for 300,000 plus,” he said. “We think that’s still on track. We have not been told anything differently.”
Florida International University and University of Miami also plan to return to a pre-pandemic school setting for summer and fall, but officials said they will reverse these plans if needed.
Officials said a detailed policy will be released in advance of the effective dates.
The CDC updated its guidelines, which states fully vaccinated individuals can now safely travel within the U.S. without being tested for the virus or needing to quarantine.
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