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University of Hawai‘i Will Require COVID-19 Vaccine for On-Campus Students

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University of Hawai‘i students with a physical presence on any of the system's campuses will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall semester, the university system announced Monday.

The university is adding the COVID-19 vaccination to its list of "student health clearance requirements" for the new school year. Just like the existing health requirements, students will be able to request exemptions for medical and religious reasons.

Students attending classes on campus, living in campus housing and participating in athletic events are all included under the requirement.

However, the vaccine requirement will not take effect until at least one of the three COVID-19 vaccines, currently under emergency use authorization, has been approved and fully licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the school said. A full authorization is anticipated this summer.

“It is clear that a vaccinated campus is a safer campus for everyone, and a fully vaccinated student community enables the best opportunity for a healthy return to high-quality face-to-face teaching, learning and research," said UH President David Lassner.

The school said the mandate is based on guidance from the school's Health and Well-Being Working Group and the American College Health Association. Some of the country's largest university systems have announced identical requirements such as the California State University and the State University of New York.

Unvaccinated students will be able to attend school and student activities virtually, according to the school.

The university said there will be vaccination opportunities over the summer and at the beginning of fall for members of the UH community who arrive from places where they have not been able to get vaccinated.

As for staff, the school said it will be starting formal discussions with the three unions that represent employees about possibly requiring COVID-19 vaccinations.

Since the start of the pandemic, the university has reported 124 positive cases across its 10 campuses.

Chaminade University of Honolulu and Hawaii Pacific University told Hawaii Public Radio they are highly recommending their students get vaccinated but have not made the shots mandatory.

For more information about the vaccination requirement, click here.

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