The deadline to verify one’s vaccination status or file for an exemption passed Aug. 16, with a late surge in reporting by students and employees.
In only one week, there was a 13-point spike — from 51% to 64% — in students who verified having received a vaccination, according to UC Riverside numbers reported on Aug. 18. The number of employees climbed by 9%, to almost 74%.
The employee number is on the precipice of what the University of California system had deemed a “fully vaccinated campus.” But on Aug. 1, UC changed its definition of “fully vaccinated campus” from 75% to 90%, citing the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID-19, and the lower efficacy of the vaccines in reducing infection against the variant.
“The gains were significant as students and employees were faced with the UC deadline to verify vaccinations,” Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said this week. “But with the recent surges, we have to set the bar higher yet. We have to keep pushing to get more people vaccinated by fall so that campus is as safe as we can make it for everyone’s return.”
The higher goal came following a UCR decision to require masks in most indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
Recently, the university began rolling out information regarding applying for vaccine exemptions and fallout for noncompliance to the UC-wide policy.
An Aug. 13 email from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brian Haynes alerted students that noncompliance can lead to a registration hold, followed by a prohibition to access campus facilities. If noncompliance persists, students could receive an interim suspension.
Noncompliant employees will be issued up to three notices. Following the third notice, employees are subject to “progressive corrective action/discipline.”
This week, a “Let’s Do R Part” campaign was launched, providing information for students and employees on how to ensure a safe fall return to campus. Members of the campus community have been encouraged to promote the campaign through social media, email signatures, Zoom backgrounds, websites, and other media.