Some Charlotte-area colleges to require student COVID-19 vaccines, while others won’t

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As August approaches, college students are stocking up on textbooks, three-ring binders and loose leaf paper for the upcoming semester.

But some students have received conflicting instructions on whether they need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus.

Johnson and Wales University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lenoir-Rhyne University and Queens University of Charlotte are requiring students returning to campus this fall to get the vaccine.

“We believe this is a critical next step in ensuring the health and safety of the entire Queens community, and to our shared goal of returning to campus in the fall at full strength and for the full academic and residential Queens experience,” read a June 24 email from Queens officials.

Many private colleges in NC mandate vaccines. Public schools don’t, but do recommend it

Other colleges and universities are encouraging but not requiring that students be vaccinated before returning to school. Those schools are promoting “vax up or mask up” policies by comparing and contrasting what on-campus life will look like for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

Belmont Abbey College and Wingate University are among local schools not requiring students to provide proof of vaccination before their return to campus in August.

UNC System universities, including UNC Charlotte, won’t require vaccines, but they are strongly recommending students get vaccinated, the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.

Similarly, Central Piedmont Community College will not require vaccinations or face coverings, though they are highly encouraged for unvaccinated students and visitors.

On Friday, Davidson College sent an email to student athletes informing them that they are required to be vaccinated before returning to campus if they wish to participate in their sport. Non-student athletes are also required to provide proof of vaccination to be exempt from COVID-19 guidelines and testing requirements, which include additional testing fees of about $1200.

At Wingate University, vaccinated students are instructed to provide proof of vaccination to the campus health center to aid in contact-tracing strategies. Those students will not be required to quarantine if they come in contact with an infected student and would be exempt from random testing.

As an additional incentive, the university announced that four vaccinated students will be chosen at random and each will receive a gift worth up to $1,000.

Unvaccinated students will be required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, participate in weekly, random COVID testing and isolate if they are contact-traced.

Wingate and other Charlotte-area schools also plan to provide opportunities for international students and other unvaccinated students who are interested in receiving the vaccine.

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