76% of Nevada students were vaccinated before term expiry

Three-quarters of students at public colleges and universities in Nevada were vaccinated against COVID-19 before an emergency mandate requiring the inoculation expired in December.

In a Feb. 1 memo to the state Department of Health and Human Services, which the Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained through a public records request, the Nevada System of Higher Education provided a breakdown of rates. vaccination of students per campus.

About 76% of NSHE students systemwide – 69,342 out of 90,952 – were vaccinated by December 21.

But the percentages vary widely between the eight schools in the system, from 45% to 91%.

“We are proud of the NSHE students, faculty and staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccine,” NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose said in a statement Tuesday to the Review-Journal. “Their decision will go a long way in helping NSHE institutions provide a safe and effective in-person educational experience.”

The higher education system continues to “strongly encourage” everyone to get vaccinated, she said.

“Science and data have consistently shown that receiving COVID-19 vaccines continues to be the safest, most secure and most effective way to keep Nevada safe and learning,” Rose said.

Western Nevada College in Carson City had the lowest rate, at 45%. UNLV had the highest rate, at 91%, followed by the University of Nevada, Reno, at 87%.

UNLV spokesman Tony Allen said in a statement on Tuesday that the university appreciates the strong commitment of its students and staff “who have worked with us to address this unprecedented pandemic.”

“We will continue to work closely with NSHE and other state and local agencies to ensure UNLV complies with all applicable COVID-19 guidelines and requirements,” he said. “The vaccine remains one of the most effective ways to fight COVID-19, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated or get a booster shot to help slow the spread of the pandemic.”

At Nevada State College in Henderson, 65% of students have been vaccinated.

The enrollment figure on which the rate is based includes online-only students and high school students who earn college credit through Nevada State, who also take distance learning courses, the college said Tuesday in a statement to the Review. -Newspaper.

The on-campus student vaccination rate is much higher, 89%, the college said.

“We will continue to monitor these numbers and support efforts to advance vaccinations for all students and employees,” the statement said.

At the College of Southern Nevada, which has three campuses in the Las Vegas Valley, 58% of students have been vaccinated. The college did not comment on the numbers on Tuesday.

It’s unclear how student vaccination rates across the state have changed since December.

After the term ended, “students were no longer required to report their COVID-19 vaccination status and NSHE’s ability to collect this data ceased,” wrote NSHE Chief General Counsel Joe Reynolds. and Caleb Cage, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Chief Innovation Officer. in the memo.

The memo does not include information on the number of students with an approved medical or religious exemption.

Additionally, student enrollment includes high school students taking college courses, as well as those taking online-only courses.

In August, the state Board of Health unanimously approved a 120-day emergency measure that required students enrolling in in-person classes during the spring semester to show proof of vaccinations or have an approved medical or religious exemption.

Students had a November 1 deadline to comply, but technically they could provide proof until registration ended in January.

In December, the state Legislative Committee deadlocked in a 6-6 vote on a permanent bylaw, meaning it did not pass. The article will now go to the Board of Health, and then the state will seek to bring a regulation back to the Legislative Commission.

In late December, NSHE Regents voted 10-2 to authorize Chancellor Rose, in consultation with Board Chair Carol Del Carlo, to write a letter to Governor Steve Sisolak, the State Board of Health and the Legislative Commission in favor of a student mandate.

At a meeting in mid-January, the regents voted 9 to 4 to approve a draft letter.

A COVID-19 vaccination mandate for NSHE employees remains in effect. A total of 97% of the approximately 22,159 workers in the system had been vaccinated as of January 31, according to the memo.

The memo says NSHE does not track the number of employees who received a booster injection.

Data published on the system’s website shows that 695 employees, or about 3% of the workforce, have an approved medical or religious exemption.

Fewer than 400 employees across the system were fired in late December for failing to meet the vaccination mandate.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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