Two universities requiring COVID vaccines for workers as concerns grow in South Florida

·2 min read

Nova Southeastern University has joined the University of Miami in requiring faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

NSU, whose main campus is in Davie, is requiring all employees — full and part-time faculty and staff, adjunct faculty and temporary employees — to complete their vaccination by Sept. 20.

Faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows at UM were told they should receive the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna by Aug 1. The deadline, which was announced in June, was to ensure employees would be fully vaccinated by the time classes begin on Aug. 23. Vaccinations are optional for healthcare workers at the University of Miami Health System.

The vaccine mandate at both private universities does not apply to employees who qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

NSU requiring employees to get COVID vaccine

NSU’s mandate was announced by the school’s president in a message to the university community. The fall semester begins Aug. 23.

“Planning for the start of the 2021 fall semester/term, we are facing the renewed challenge of the rise of the Delta variant, which has dramatically increased the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, particularly in South Florida,” NSU President George Hanbury wrote. “In response, I must consider what more we could be doing to maintain the safety of our employees and students across our various locations, workspaces and teaching/learning environments.”

Workers will have to report their status into the NSU Vax Max portal by or before Sept. 20. Employees who do not complete their vaccination, or get their exemption approved, by the deadline will be offered unpaid leave for up to 45 days to either get vaccinated or request an exemption, according to the university.

NSU in April attempted to mandate vaccines for employees and students ahead of the fall semester but reversed course after the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis banned vaccine passports. The law prohibits businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination. Schools also cannot require “students or residents” to show proof of vaccination. If they do, they can be fined up to $5,000 per incident.

As for employees, the federal government says businesses can mandate workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even while the shots are under the Food And Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization. DeSantis’ staff also clarified to the Miami Herald in July that he supports a business’ right to impose a vaccine requirement for workers.

Miami Herald staff writer Daniel Chang contributed to this report.

This article will be updated.

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