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Officials schedule emergency meeting on COVID vaccine mandate for college students


by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
August 16, 2021

After calls from Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) faculty and staff last week to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for college students “as soon as possible,” health officials have scheduled an emergency meeting to consider the decision this Friday.

The Nevada Board of Health will hold an emergency meeting Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. to consider a possible amendment requiring proof immunization against COVID-19 for students at the state’s public colleges and universities.

The board will consider a possible adoption of an emergency regulation amendment “relating to university, community college and state college students providing proof of immunity to certain communicable diseases, including COVID-19,” according to the meeting agenda.

Nevada Health Response officials previously said that the Board of Health would not discuss a vaccination requirement until its September meeting, and indicated that if and when the state requires a mandate, it would apply to the spring semester of 2022.

That timeline follows recommendations from Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Medical Advisory Team, a group of medical professionals who advise the governor. 

Last week, however, NSHE staff and faculty pushed for the board to call an emergency meeting “as soon as possible” to mandate Covid-19 vaccines before fall semester classes start on August 23. 

NSHE faculty and staff urged state health officials during an unrelated emergency meeting to mandate a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for college students, calling further delay a “failure.”

Nationally, over 680 universities and colleges have required students or employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Kent Ervin, president of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, told the health board.

He noted the California State University System has issued vaccination mandates, and a federal court upheld a mandatory vaccination requirement at Indiana University.

A petition sponsored by the Nevada Faculty Alliance calling for a “safe fall semester” by requesting mandatory student vaccinations before students return to classes, was signed by nearly 700 NSHE faculty and staff members in two days.

“As you are medical professionals we are calling on you to consider the public health necessity of vaccination among students,” Ervin said at last week’s meeting. “The Delta variant will not wait for Spring 2022 registration.”

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected] Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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