September 29, 2021

UC Riverside surpasses ambitious vaccination goal

With in-person instruction resuming, almost 95% of students reported having received a COVID-19 vaccination

Author: J.D. Warren
September 29, 2021

Almost 95% of the students who have returned to campus this fall are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. UCR earlier this month passed its campus-wide goal of 90% vaccination, representing a journey that gathered significant momentum in the past few weeks.

The path to a fully vaccinated campus started with a Jan. 11 directive from UC President Michael Drake for a fall 2021 return to in-person instruction. In April, the UC system announced a proposed policy that would mandate vaccinations. In July, UCR set a deadline of Aug. 16 for compliance to the fully implemented system-wide SARS-CoV2 Vaccination Policy. With fall quarter still more than a month from starting, student adherence to the mandate was slow-moving for a time, with employee reporting outpacing student reporting.

At first, 75% compliance to the mandate was the target. But a system-wide University of California committee later decided a fully vaccinated campus means 90% compliance. The number is based on the threshold at which it’s believed a population acquires herd immunity, committee members said.

Progressively, UCR administration applied greater pressure to students and faculty. On Sept. 10, non-compliant students were blocked from enrolling in in-person classes. Then came daily messages from Student Affairs to noncompliant students, complemented by messages from Student Health Services. The messages include the threat of an interim suspension. Beginning after Aug. 16, noncompliant employees were issued up to three notices. Following the third notice, employees are subject to “progressive corrective action/discipline.”

On Sept. 23, for the first time since March 16, 2020, in-person classes resumed on the UCR campus, and at the last count – on Sept. 28 -  94.2% of students, 22,151, have reported a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations. Among employees, 81.55%, or 3,491, have reported they are vaccinated. The overall campus vaccination rate is 92.27%.

The 2,147 members of the campus community who aren’t among the vaccinated represent a combination of those who have applied for or received medical or religious exemptions, are partially vaccinated, or are completely non-compliant. Only about 270 students and 180 employees are considered noncompliant.

Those counted do not include students and employees who are fully remote. If those employees wish to visit campus, they will have to comply with the mandate. 

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