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High USU student vaccination rates expected to keep classes in-person for spring semester

A masked woman receives a shot.
Unsplash

This Fall USU issued a COVID vaccination requirement for spring semester and students have responded overwhelmingly by getting vaccinated.

In an effort to curb COVID cases, USU has required students to submit proof of their COVID vaccinations before spring semester. While students can claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for religious, medical or personal reasons, 87 percent of USU Logan students have already gotten vaccinated or plan to before the deadline. With high vaccination rates, Robert Wagner, the vice president for Academic and Instructional Services, is hopeful for the future of in-person classes.

“As the conditions of the pandemic change, and certainly as our institutional community becomes more vaccinated, that allows us to be able to return to doing things that we were doing before the pandemic. And of course, one of those things, is in-person instruction,” Wagner said.

Emerging virus variants are a constant concern, but Wagner said the pandemic has pushed the university to be more flexible with teaching strategies that still provide quality education in the face of constant uncertainty.

“One of the things that we have learned is, no matter how we teach a course, we have to make sure that we focus on that student to student and student to instructor engagement, and really do our best no matter what the delivery method is to really provide a rich experience,” Wagner said.

James Morales, USU’s vice president for Student Affairs, also has high hopes for in-person campus events during spring semester.

“If something goes south again, we have to be prepared to turn on a dime and hunker down and to ensure the health and wellbeing of the entire community. But having had a very successful fall semester of primarily in person events, we're prepared to do that again during spring semester. The high vaccination rates that students have indicated as they've declared their vaccination status gives us a lot of confidence that we can continue to do that,” Morales said.

USU students must upload proof of vaccination before January 10, 2022. Learn more about USU vaccination requirements and available vaccine clinics at https://www.usu.edu/covid-19/testing/vaccine-requirement

Aimee Van Tatenhove is a science reporter at UPR. She spends most of her time interviewing people doing interesting research in Utah and writing stories about wildlife, new technologies and local happenings. She is also a PhD student at Utah State University, studying white pelicans in the Great Salt Lake, so she thinks about birds a lot! She also loves fishing, skiing, baking, and gardening when she has a little free time.