Catawba College says nearly all students, staff vaccinated in time for classes to begin

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

SALISBURY – Catawba College will begin this semester with an almost entirely vaccinated campus when classes start on Monday.

On-campus housing reopened Thursday and the college has satisfied its own vaccine requirement with a 98% full vaccination rate. The 2% of staff and students who are not vaccinated received medical or religious exemptions.

Students and staff who have not been vaccinated will still have to take a COVID-19 test every week. Booster shots are not included in the college’s definition of fully vaccinated, but Catawba is encouraging people to get the boosters.

The college says it retained 98% of employees through the mandate, but it is unsure how many students chose or will choose not to attend.

Catawba College also is also requiring its entire campus to be tested for the start of classes. Originally, the college asked everyone be tested by Monday, but Communications Director Jodi Bailey said the college extended that deadline to Jam. 14 because of the difficulty finding tests among higher demand. The college will also offer testing on campus next week.

“So many people could not get in anywhere,” Bailey said.

The college is continuing all other protocols, including masks indoors. The college is taking some additional precautions at the beginning of the semester, taking into account the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

For the first two weeks of classes, dining facilities will be takeout only to keep people from congregating indoors. There will be tents set up outside to allow people an outdoor seating option.

There will also be no food or drink allowed indoors at events for the first two weeks. Bailey said the college hopes to go back to normal after the two weeks are over, but the college will make that decision after assessing the situation.

The college is also reinforcing the importance of mask wearing and wearing them properly.

Catawba’s vaccine requirement joins Livingstone College, which required full vaccination for the fall semester and also has almost everyone on campus vaccinated. Both colleges have maintained mask requirements as well.