SALISBURY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Students, faculty and staff on the Catawba College campus will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 1, the college announced Friday.

“Full FDA approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was great news and further strengthens the case for vaccination,” said Dr. Jared R. Tice, senior vice president for the college experience and dean of students. “While our vaccination numbers continue to climb throughout the fall semester, we believe the vaccination requirement is needed to return the educational experience in and outside of the classroom to full strength this spring.”

College officials said students who are not vaccinated will not be allowed on campus without approval. Employees who do not fulfill the vaccine requirement will be placed on unpaid leave while officials determine their employment status.

Students enrolled in the college’s online program are exempt from the vaccine requirement.

Both students and employees can request an exemption due to medical reasons or a “sincerely held religious belief.”

“A fully vaccinated campus reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 on our campus, which will make our community safer and healthier, reduce disruptions to quality of education due to isolations and quarantines, reduce the personal and institutional stresses associated with managing the spread of the virus, and free us to have more of the traditional events that our community enjoys,” said Catawba President David Nelson in his letter to the campus community.

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