Updated May 6, 2021 - 10:58 am
Touro University Nevada in Henderson will require students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus starting June 1.
The announcement, made Tuesday via campuswide email, comes as the private university is planning to resume full on-campus operations this summer.
The requirement doesn’t apply to online students who don’t come to campus for clinicals. Students and employees also can seek a medical or religious exemption.
“Touro University’s primary responsibility is to provide the best possible education to the next generation of health care providers for Nevada,” CEO and Senior Provost Shelley Berkley said in a statement to the Review-Journal. “We also have a responsibility to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. We are dealing with the worst pandemic in modern history.”
The decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations “is not without precedent,” she said, citing a list maintained by The Chronicle of Higher Education showing more than 200 public and private colleges and universities across the country that are doing so for employees, students or residential-only students.
Touro University Nevada employees and students will be required to provide a copy of their completed vaccination card to the university, according to a campuswide email from Berkley and Chief Academic Officer Andrew Priest.
Deadlines are May 25 for current students and June 30 for employees. Incoming students must provide proof of vaccination before they start on-campus classes.
Touro University Nevada has nearly 1,500 students in health care and education programs, and is home to the state’s largest medical school.
The school is leading the fight against COVID-19, including providing testing and administering more than 10,000 vaccines in the community, Berkley said.
As of mid-April, the Nevada System of Higher Education — which includes UNLV, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College and the College of Southern Nevada — didn’t have plans to mandate vaccinations for returning to campus.
But NSHE said in an April 16 statement to the Review-Journal it’s “strongly encouraging” all students and employees to get vaccinated.
Last week, the American College Health Association issued a recommendation that COVID-19 vaccinations be required — “where state law and available resources allow” — for all on-campus college and university students for fall semester, but with normal exemption practices.
The California State University and University of California systems announced last month they’ll require vaccinations for employees and students who use campus facilities for fall semester, but would have a process for seeking medical or religious exemptions.
The requirement will go into effect once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval to a vaccine and there’s sufficient vaccine access.
A previous version of this article did not fully explain the circumstances under which California’s university systems will require proof of vaccination.