No vaccine requirement among plans for university reopening this fall

FAU is preparing for full occupancy for all in-person classes, but the university spokesperson said the university will always have hybrid learning options.


Art courtesy of Michelle Rodriguez-Gonzalez

Joseph Acosta, Business Manager

There will be no vaccine requirement for students, faculty, or staff heading into the Fall 2021 semester, university spokesperson Joshua Glanzer wrote in an email to the University Press.

FAU President John Kelly sent out an email to all students and faculty on March 9 notifying them that the university is planning a “full on-campus, in-person instruction and on-campus experience for the Fall 2021 semester.”

The university is in “continued conversations” with county and state officials to receive more vaccines to distribute to the FAU community, and strongly encourages everyone who will be returning to campus to get fully vaccinated, said the spokesperson.

The Davie campus began administering vaccines on March 30, but ended administration on Apr. 8. Nursing students had access to the vaccine beginning Jan. 4. According to the FAU Coronavirus website, the state or federal government have not designated either campus as a distribution center.

Around the country, public and private institutions including California State, Georgetown University, Rutgers, and Clark Atlanta University are requiring students and faculty to be fully vaccinated. 

Nova Southeastern University, a private institution in Fort Lauderdale, will require students and faculty to be fully vaccinated before Aug. 1. However, because Gov. Ron DeSantis has barred businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for entry, they are “reviewing” their plans. They are the only university in the state to require vaccinations.

Classes will not have universally available remote learning options this fall as they did in the previous semesters. The university is preparing for full occupancy for all in-person classes, but the university spokesperson said that FAU will always have hybrid learning options.

A university spokesperson wrote in an email that this decision was made via recommendations from the FAU Emergency Operations Team (EOT), who would work with the Executive Policy Group (EPG) to make the decisions. Medical and public health experts were consulted on the decision, the spokesperson added.

FAU’s provost Bret Danilowicz also spoke with faculty regarding a full reopening of the campus and advised the registrar, college deans, department chairs, school directors, and degree program coordinators to begin building a course schedule that used the Fall 2019 pre-pandemic schedule as a baseline.

In the event of a possible COVID-19 outbreak on campus, the university will follow the same guidelines used previously. FAU released an Employee Reintegration Plan which outlines protocols for faculty and staff, such as completing the COVID-19 Wellness Check online twice per week.

President Kelly said details about the fall semester will be released as the semester approaches.

To register or schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Florida, go to My Vaccine Florida or go to the CDC Vaccine Finder.

Editor’s Note: This story is a part of our “One Year Later” special newsletter issue, which you can view here.

Joseph Acosta is the Business Manager of the Florida Atlantic University Press. For more inquiries regarding this story or any other story, email him at [email protected] or tweet him @acosta32_jp.