Cal State Fullerton students who plan to live in student housing for the fall 2021 semester will need to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 at least once a week, said Ellen Treanor, associate vice president of strategic communications.
On April 22, the California State University and University of California systems announced that staff, faculty and students must be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus or accessing any of the university’s locations.
“The vaccine requirement is intended to bring students back for the on-campus experience students say they want,” Treanor told the Daily Titan.
Students who are exempt from vaccination requirements will have access to free COVID-19 tests to fulfill weekly testing obligations, Treanor said.
The university does not currently have a plan in place to identify vaccinated students, or to enforce the vaccine requirement, though they are working with “a third-party vendor who specializes in medical record privacy,” Treanor said.
Some students feel safer with a vaccination mandate in place for the fall semester. The method of providing proof of receiving the vaccination is still under development, according to the CSUF COVID-19 website.
“Every student in this community is looking out for each other and their well-being, so having a handful of students who are not vaccinated living in our community will ultimately put others who are conscious about health and safety at risk,” said second-year Ramon Aquino who has lived on campus since he was a freshman.
Aquino said that he disagrees with the university’s willingness to provide accommodations to unvaccinated students when the primary responsibility should be to the health of all housing residents.
“In the end, it’s a matter of being conscious of other resident’s health, and the need to get vaccinated should be expected when living with other individuals in a community that’s founded on unity to protect oneself and others,” Aquino said.
The vaccination requirement for all staff and students to use campus facilities will be enacted for the fall semester when the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval of a vaccine, according to the CSUF COVID-19 website.
However, the university and the rest of the CSU system is still pending approval of the vaccine as well as adequate availability of the approved vaccines. Approval of the vaccine from the FDA is vital in ensuring the passage of the requirement for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Larry Martin, executive director of housing and residential engagement, told the Daily Titan that the university is accepting housing applications with the intent to notify students of placement in mid-June.
As of now, student housing is set to open and allow its residents to begin moving in during the week of Aug. 16.
Martin said on-campus housing is expected to open 60% of its usual occupancy, with additional spaces to be kept open if isolation is needed.
“I understand objections, I have two children in college now and the pandemic has been extremely disruptive,” Treanor said.
Due to the vaccination requirement, CSUF plans to bring back the campus experience as students can expect the return of social clubs, performing arts and athletics, Treanor said. The university also plans to offer 65% to 70% of in-person classes, she added.
“I consider that we are a tightly knit community, however, it is that same sense of community that will make it difficult for us to thrive if we don’t have established rules when it comes to social distancing with a population of over 1,000 students,” Aquino said.