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UVA Disenrolls Students for Not Complying with Vaccine Requirement

August 25, 2021 by Reece Nations
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia. (Wikimedia Commons)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Virginia disenrolled 238 students who were not in compliance with the college’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement. The new back-to-school policies were unveiled in May. 

School officials clarified only 49 of those students had selected courses for the semester. The remaining students had not responded to the university’s various reminders sent via email, call and text and may not have planned on returning to the university regardless of the vaccine policy.

“This approach will enable our students to return to a residential academic setting where they can live, study, and gather together safely,” UVA President Jim Ryan said in an email to students. The email was signed by Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs K. Craig Kent.

The UVA officials continued, “The University expects all UVA and UVA Health faculty and staff who do not have a need for medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We know that many UVA and UVA Health employees are fully vaccinated and others are in the process of completing their doses. Vaccination of our employees is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the return to regular, in-person experiences.”

Hundreds of other public and private universities across the country have instituted similar vaccine requirements, including all eight Ivy League universities, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Approximately 97% of UVA students have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a press release. 

Another 335 students with either religious or medical exemptions were granted permanent vaccine waivers while 184 students were issued temporary vaccine waivers for those who are not yet immunized but intend on getting a shot once on campus. Although rules requiring masks indoors had been relaxed over the summer, UVA announced earlier this month it would issue a temporary indoor masking policy to curb the spread of the delta variant as the university began reopening. 

Disenrolled students can enroll again if they comply with the university’s vaccine requirement or file an exemption by Wednesday or during the spring semester if they are exempt or vaccinated by then.

“First, and most important, thanks to high vaccination rates in our student and employee communities, we are planning for the full residential and academic experience that is at the heart of our University’s mission,” Magill and Davis said in an email to students. “Classrooms, residence halls, dining and recreation facilities, and other key facets of University life will be operating at full capacity from day one.” 

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