The University of Virginia has disenrolled more than 230 students for not complying with the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
The current university policy in place for the 2021-2022 academic year requires “all students who live, learn, or work in person at the university” to be fully vaccinated.
Of the 238 incoming fall semester students who were disenrolled, just 49 were enrolled in classes. UVA spokesperson Brian Coy told CNN that the remaining 189 “may not have been planning to return to the university this fall at all.”
If students are disenrolled, they are “not eligible to take courses,” Coy explained. Students who were enrolled as of Wednesday have one week — up until Aug. 25 — to update their vaccination status, and can then re-enroll, he said.
According to The Washington Post, UVA first announced its vaccine mandate in May. The policy has been overwhelmingly effective so far, with over 96% of the student body vaccinated, and only 1% currently unvaccinated, with 1.3% claiming religious or medical exemptions to the vaccine, Coy shared.
“If you’re unvaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask at all times — indoors or outdoors — whenever you’re around people,” he said. “Anyone unvaccinated and has an exemption will have to test once a week, we’re starting once a week: That might go up.”
Students who did not receive the vaccine and did not have an exemption were sent multiple reminders to get vaccinated between May 20 and July 1, with the warning that they would be disenrolled if they did not comply.
“Students out of compliance received multiple emails, calls, text messages and — in some cases — calls to their parents,” Coy said. “Our numbers show that our students responded to this. This means we can have the kind of in-person semester where people can engage in normal ways.”
“We are in a much better and much different position than we were last year, primarily because of the vaccines and the extraordinarily high vaccination rate in our community,” Ryan said, per The Washington Post. “This means we can return in person to classes, activities, sporting events and research labs as we have been planning to do in the fall semester, with the residential experiences that are at the heart of this university.”
UVA, which is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, has an undergraduate population of about 18,000, plus 9,000 graduate students. The university is just one of hundreds requiring students to get vaccinated for the fall semester.
Earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report reported that over 680 colleges and universities were planning to require their students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Among them are the State University of New York system and the California State University system, which includes 23 campuses.
242 students is about 1% of the student population of UVA – meaning roughly 99% of students have either gotten vaccinated or received a medical/religious waiver.
— Kathryn Young (@itskathrynyoung) August 19, 2021
During a town hall last month, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan maintained that vaccines are a necessary component of the school’s re-opening strategy.