Only vaccinated students are permitted on the Edward Waters University campus; unvaccinated students will study online


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JACKSONVILLE, Florida – A letter sent this week to students at Edward Waters University announced an updated COVID-19 policy for the 2021-2022 academic year, including a requirement that any student studying in person must provide proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Even as the campus eases some of its restrictions for vaccinated students, the administration recognizes the current reality of the coronavirus, including the delta variant, and our new standard for the operation of the university,” the letter from the president of the ‘EWU, A. Zachary Faison Jr.. noted. “As such, we continue to demand social distancing and the wearing of face masks. However, we are delighted to change some campus access restrictions so that our vaccinated students can enjoy the many new campus amenities and services face to face. “

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The new campus policy allows any student who is fully immunized by August 16 full access to the campus, including in-person classes, living in on-campus accommodation, eating in the cafeteria, attending the welcome week and return home activities; and attend any student activities, including social events on campus.

RELATED: U.S. Colleges Divided Over Student Vaccination Requirement

The university will require students to present their vaccination card to register.

The EWU also provides access to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on campus through Agape Mobile Health Services on the following dates:

  • August 1-2

  • August 6-7

  • August 12-13

As with any COVID-19 pandemic resumption of campus operations planning, the information provided in this letter is subject to adjustment as the EWU will continue to update, revise and / or notify its constituents of any modification of full operational plans. or changes to protocols and procedures in accordance with recommendations from local, state and federal authorities, health agencies, as well as internal and external assessment and assessment of conditions related to COVID-19. “

A. Zachary Faison Jr., JD President and CEO, Edward Waters University

Some EWU students oppose university policy, even describing it as a “violation of human rights”.

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An online petition has collected more than 370 signatures calling on the university to withdraw from politics.

“Many students have scholarships, or even unstable life situations, and giving them an ultimatum regarding the vaccine is immoral,” the description of the online petition reads. “Putting anything in your body should be a calculated choice, not a way to avoid social punishment. This move will deter students from leaving the institution and damage the social and mental health of students more than it has already done. “

Petition update claims EWU’s vaccination requirement for campus activities is in violation with Governor Ron DeSantis’ decree prohibiting companies from requiring “vaccine passports” for access or services.

Most other higher education institutions in Northeast Florida “strongly recommend” that students and staff get vaccinated.

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“The UNF strongly encourages vaccinations and the wearing of masks for the unvaccinated, but we have no mandate,” a spokesperson for the University of North Florida told News4Jax on Friday.

The University of North Florida’s website outlines campus COVID-19 security policy. (University of North Florida)

“We do not require vaccines, but we strongly encourage the wearing of masks,” said a spokesperson for Florida State College in Jacksonville noted. “It is also important to note that we have organized several vaccination clinics on campus and that we plan to host several more when we return to campus this fall.

You can find information on the COVID-19 vaccine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Full statement from Edward Waters University:

Although Edward Waters University (EWU) strongly encourages vaccination among its students, the university does not and will not require vaccination as a condition of enrollment or attendance at the institution for the academic year at to come.

In particular, the university has taken important steps to make operational adjustments to accommodate both vaccinated and unvaccinated students while primarily considering the health, safety and well-being of the whole. of its campus community, including students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Specifically, EWU has adapted its educational delivery and experiential activities to enable students and their parents to make the educational and experiential choice that best meets their needs in the context of their own choice of vaccination.

For student athletes, the EWU conference (the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference which is made up of 15 member institutions across the country) has in fact made vaccination mandatory for all student-athletes from member institutions, including pom – cheerleaders, brass bands, officials and all coaches. The university supports and will comply with the decision of its conference in this regard. Student-athletes have the option of appealing for medical or religious reasons. At the same time, however, the EWU has taken the institutional decision for this year to honor the sports scholarship of any fully enrolled student-athlete who chooses not to be vaccinated and therefore not to participate in their sport due to the mandate of the conference.

As a result, our distinctive approaches for the upcoming academic year are in fact an unfortunate by-product of the difficult but visceral realities of the COVID-19 pandemic that have seriously gripped our Jacksonville community with an extraordinarily high and recent record number of d ‘infections and hospitalizations here locally and across our state.

After meeting earlier this week with our student leadership regarding plans for the coming year, we have worked with them to make further adjustments and will continue to meet and engage with them throughout the coming year as well. that we work together and remain flexible to navigate this unprecedented challenge. COVID-19 pandemic environment. We have addressed student concerns in a list of FAQs that are posted here. Subsequently, our elected student leaders (i.e. the Student Government Association) documented their full support for our cooperative efforts.

As a progressive and leading higher education institution, our approach is largely based on and in alignment with advice and guidance from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) as well as scientific guidance.

As we have done with testing, physical distancing and the provision of personal protective equipment, including the wearing of masks, we believe that using the latest scientific data to implement vaccination protocols is the way to go. next step in ensuring the safety of our university community. Encouraging immunizations for members of our community is essential to continue to meet our highest priority – maintaining the safety and well-being of our university family. The CDC lists several benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, including, but not limited to:

EWU is proud of its community, which has heroically rallied together over the past 18 months to maintain a safe environment for teaching and learning. Our university has collaborated and will continue to collaborate to support students, faculty and staff through many academic, extracurricular, physical and mental health initiatives and programs.

We will be pursuing that same commitment in earnest and even have plans to improve it for the next academic year as we administer vaccinations in our university community and beyond to prioritize safety in our environment, which we believe will be a priority. will continue to support excellent results for our new university.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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Norma A. Roth