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University of Virginia disenrolls more than 200 students for not complying with vaccination requirements

Unvaccinated students received multiple emails, calls, text messages between May 20 and July 1 requesting them to comply with the mandate before the deadline.

University of Virginia disenrolls more than 200 students for not complying with vaccination requirements
Image Source: Getty Images/Yoss Sabalet / EyeEm/Representative

The University of Virginia (UVA) is preparing to reopen for in-person classes this fall. It has disenrolled more than 200 students who failed to comply with the vaccine conditions ahead of the commencement of the semester. Almost 96.6 percent of UVA students have confirmed that they are vaccinated. This included the students living in the campus residence halls. "The vaccines are required for all students who wish to live and study in person at UVA during the 2021-22 academic year unless they were granted a medical or religious exemption," the university stated in a press release.


Temporary waivers were granted for students who had trouble getting vaccinated where they were living over the summer but were hoping to get vaccinated once they got to the campus. Brian Coy, a school spokesman explained that of the 238 students disenrolled, "only 49 of those students had actually selected courses, meaning that a good number of the remaining 189 may not have been planning to return to the university this fall at all, regardless of our vaccination policy." Coy also told The Washington Post that students have until August 25 to comply and re-enroll for fall semester classes. Two-thirds of the UVA student body is from Virginia. Further, for the fall semester, the university says there will be around 18,000 undergraduate and about 9,000 graduate students.


Students are also given an option to return to campus in the spring, again, only after meeting the vaccination requirement. "Students out of compliance received multiple emails, calls, text messages and -- in some cases -- calls to their parents," Jim Ryan, the university’s president told CNN. "Our numbers show that our students responded to this. This means we can have the kind of in-person semester where people can engage in normal ways." Unvaccinated students were repeatedly reminded to get vaccinated between May 20 and July 1 to avoid disenrollment, he added. 


“We are in a much better and much different position than we were last year, primarily because of the vaccines and the extraordinarily high vaccination rate in our community,” Ryan said. “This means we can return in person to classes, activities, sporting events, and research labs as we have been planning to do in the fall semester, with the residential experiences that are at the heart of this university.” In addition to UVA, hundreds of other campuses have also adopted the vaccine mandate for students and were announced in May. Rice University among a few other colleges has announced a move to remote learning citing the high infection rates.


In a press release, Rice University stated: "It is important to recognize that vaccination substantially reduces the spread of COVID-19 and makes serious illness extremely rare. Vaccination remains the single most effective method to protect yourself, your family, and everyone on campus." It added, "We need time to test and assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Rice community and its related health outcomes, and to implement any appropriate risk mitigation actions, keeping in mind the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing serious illness," and said that classes would be held online.


The college also has a mask mandate in place. Everyone on campus, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be required to wear a mask indoors till September 6 with the exception of inside dorms and private housing or when people are alone in closed spaces, such as an office. The compulsory mask policy is temporary. It was put in place in early August in response to the spread of the delta variant across the United States and concerns about students traveling to the school from across the country and around the world. The exempt students and staff must be tested weekly and wear a mask in indoor and outdoor common spaces.


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