Catawba College will require COVID-19 vaccinations in 2022

Published 1:48 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

SALISBURY — Catawba College students, faculty and staff on the campus have 10 weeks to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the school announced Friday.

Catawba joins Livingstone College in requiring the vaccinations. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College requires vaccinations or weekly tests for faculty and staff starting this month. Catawba’s vaccination requirement takes effect Jan. 1.

Catawba students who do not fulfill the vaccination requirement are not allowed on the Catawba campus without prior approval, the school said in a news release. Students enrolled in the Catawba Online program are exempt from the vaccination requirement.

Employees who do not fulfill the requirement will be placed on unpaid leave while their “employment status is determined,” the school said in a news release. 

Catawba President David P. Nelson said the decision was made after consulting campus leaders and public health professionals.

“A fully vaccinated campus reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 on our campus, which will make our community safer and healthier, reduce disruptions to quality of education due to isolations and quarantines, reduce the personal and institutional stresses associated with managing the spread of the virus, and free us to have more of the traditional events that our community enjoys,” Nelson said.

Jared Tice, senior vice president and dean of students, said full FDA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine strengthens the case for vaccinations. In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, Catawba said it will count two doses of the Moderna vaccine and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine as being fully vaccinated.

“While our vaccination numbers continue to climb throughout the fall semester, we believe the vaccination requirement is needed to return the educational experience in and outside of the classroom to full strength this spring,” Tice said.

Students and employees may request exemption from this vaccination requirement due to a medical reason or a sincerely held religious belief, a news release said. Anyone requesting an exemption must do so by Nov. 15. Those granted an exemption will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test at least once weekly.