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Nevada colleges planning COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students

Nevada’s higher education system reversed course Thursday and announced it is drafting plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students coming to campuses for fall semester, with “some limited exceptions.”

The Nevada System of Higher Education said, however, that the requirement is contingent on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first lifting the emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines.

It would also require approval from Board of Regents and the State Board of Health, NSHE said in a news release.

“I fully support the implementation of a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students once it is legally viable,” NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose said in the release. “Our students cannot afford further disruptions to their education if the virus is allowed to spread unabated, which continues to be a concern especially during the colder months.”

NSHE oversees eight public schools, including UNLV, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College and the College of Southern Nevada.

As of mid-April, NSHE said it didn’t have plans to mandate vaccinations for returning to campus.

The news release did not address why employees would not be required to show proof of vaccination under the proposal.

The system is asking students and their families to be prepared for the possibility of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the release. In the meantime, “NSHE continues to strongly encourage all students and faculty to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

On Tuesday, Touro University Nevada in Henderson – a private school with health care and education programs – announced it will require students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus starting June 1.

More than 200 public and private colleges and universities nationwide have announced they’re mandating COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a list maintained by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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