LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In an emergency meeting Thursday, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents voted to maintain the existing employee COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

The requirement asks for all NSHE employees who are not vaccinated to comply by showing proof of vaccination or an approved exemption or face termination effective Friday, Dec. 31. According to NSHE, of the more than 22,240 NSHE employees, 379 will be terminated by Friday, while 188 will end employment due to the completion of their contract and 18 have voluntarily resigned.

The vaccine requirement policy, passed in September, provided unvaccinated employees with several ways to comply with the requirement, including getting a medical or religious exemption.

In a statement Thursday night, Amy Carvalho, NSHE’s Vice-Chair Pro Tempore said the “pandemic has underscored the importance of delivering a safe and effective in-person educational experience for our students and the vaccine will help our institutions achieve that goal.”

NSHE strongly encourages vaccination, saying that the science and data have shown receiving the COVID-19 vaccines has consistently shown to be the most effective way to keep Nevada safe and learning.

The employees who will be leaving NSHE have a 30-day grace period following their termination from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 that allows them to request their reinstatement if they can provide proof of vaccination by that point.