Nova Southeastern University is mandating that all students and employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester.
The university made the announcement Thursday that it intends to resume full, in-person classroom instruction for on-ground courses for the fall 2021 semester.
“We knew it was safer if you wore a mask, we knew it was safer if you wore two masks, it is safest today to be vaccinated," Harry Moon, NSU's chief operating officer, said Friday.
The university anticipates legal challenges, perhaps even from the state, but Moon said NSU will press on.
Moon added the university's move is "not out of the ordinary" — a number of vaccinations are required for children before they can be enrolled in public schools.
Students and employees must be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1. According to the CDC, people are considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
Roughly 21,000 students, undergrad and graduate, would be impacted along with about 5,000 faculty and staff.
Schools and COVID
“I think it’s great, honestly, I’m not an anti-vaxxer by any means, I think honestly I just want to go back to normal," NSU student Ally Cummings told NBC 6. "I never had a normal college experience here and I really want to know what that’s like.”
“If it means taking off my mask and returning to what used to be normal, I’m all for it," said another student, Emily Vazquez.
“The vaccine probably needs more trial and error period before it was actually being forced on students," student Zeheem Anderson said.
Some faculty and staff have already been receiving their shots, some right on campus.
“I really proudly got my vaccine offered by NSU about a week ago and so I don’t have any problems, but I can see why other people might have pause or reservations," said staff member Tiffany McChesney.
NSU says it will continue to follow CDC guidelines, and unless those guidelines change, masks will still be required on campus even after everyone is vaccinated.