Officials schedule emergency meeting on Covid vaccine mandate for college students

By: - August 16, 2021 8:04 am
college amid a pandemic

Last week NSHE staff and faculty pushed for health officials to call an emergency meeting “as soon as possible” to mandate Covid-19 vaccines before fall semester classes start on August 23. (Photo: College of Southern Nevada Henderson campus)

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 of immunization against COVID-19 for students at the state’s public colleges and universities prior to registration.

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.”

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Jeniffer Solis
Jeniffer Solis

Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.