DAVIE, Fla. – Nova Southeastern University has announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be required for students and staff, and that in-person classes will resume in the fall.
The private university’s deadline for students and staff to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series is Aug. 1. They will be able to make an appointment online for the on-campus vaccination site starting Monday.
“We took a bold step in saying that we will ask people, require, to be enrolled at NSU to be vaccinated,” Dr. Harry Moon, EVP and COO of NSU, said during a Friday news conference. “This is for faculty, staff, students and we believe this is the best, safest path forward.”
Moon, a physician, added: “We know that it was safe, or safer, if we created barriers or space. 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.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis was pushing back on NSU’s bold move. He said he will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida.
“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” DeSantis said.
NSU released a statement after DeSantis signed the executive order: “We will continue to follow all state and federal laws as they evolve. We will evaluate how we can best protect our community and follow the governor’s executive order.”
NSU has 6,314 undergraduate students and 14,574 advanced degree students.
Moon said the decision came after months of work and planning, and that the data shows if they want to reopen classrooms, this is the way forward.
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He acknowledged that there will likely be challenges to the school’s decision, but said it is similar to other vaccination requirements.
“To enroll your child in public school requires vaccination — mumps, measles, rubella,” Moon said. “So this is not out of the ordinary as we l look at things in general.”
Moon said school leaders have not yet heard from the state about their decision, but it is a private school.
NSU will be looking at certain exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
While on-campus learning will return to the norm in the fall, NSU still has several programs at that are entirely online, as was the case before the pandemic, and those students are not required to get a vaccine since they will not physically be on campus.