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Salisbury’s colleges take different approaches to COVID-19 vaccinations

SALISBURY — While Livingstone College will require everyone on campus to be vaccinated this semester, Catawba College will ask students and staff to notify the institution of their status.

Livingstone announced the requirement in April and immediately hosted on-campus vaccine clinics in an effort to give ample opportunity and notice for people to get the shots before fall. Students who arrive at Livingstone unvaccinated will have the COVID-19 shot made available to them. Livingstone is following precautions based on what it did last year, and has pushed its start date back to Sept. 9 to as a pandemic-prompted precaution.

Livingstone is one of more than a dozen private institutions in North Carolina with the requirement. Most of the colleges requiring vaccination are small, with the exception of Duke, Wake Forest and Elon.

Catawba is not requiring vaccination. It’s encouraging everyone on campus to get the shot and requiring everyone on campus to report their vaccination status before classes begin on Aug. 18.

Catawba Director of Marketing and Communications Jodi Bailey said the college wants to collect that data so it can know what percent of people on campus are vaccinated. The college will also host at least once vaccination clinic during the fall semester.

Livingstone Chief Operating Officer Anthony Davis said the college recently reviewed how many faculty and staff are unvaccinated, and the number was very low. The college gave those people timelines for when they need to comply with the requirement.

Davis said vaccine requirement is the right decision.

“What’s happening with this virus is predominantly being transmitted by the unvaccinated,” Davis said. “That’s how it survives.”

In cases where employees are hesitant to get the vaccine, Davis said he reinforces that it is a requirement to work on campus. He said the vaccine as the main tool to break the chain of transmission.

“You may choose to not get the vaccine, but please know COVID-19 may choose you,” he said.

Bailey said a coronavirus-focused committee at Catawba meets every Tuesday to discuss the latest pandemic information. On Monday, the college’s policy on masking was for unvaccinated people to wear them indoors, but the mask policy could change because of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging everyone to wear masks amid a worsening pandemic.

Bailey said students and staff will continue to be required to complete daily screenings before coming to campus.

“That’s really an indicator that, if you don’t feel well or you may have been exposed, to take a step back before immediately going to class, practice or work,” Bailey said.

Livingstone will continue to require everyone to wear masks indoors. Davis said the college also will continue regular screenings to detect asymptomatic infections.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has no vaccine requirement nor notification requirement to attend classes, though it is continuing to require masks on campus and social distancing.

Nearby Pfeiffer University is not requiring vaccination. Though, it is encouraging people on campus to take the shot. Masks are still required on campus.

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