LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents has voted to require COVID-19 vaccines for all staff at colleges and universities in the state.
There is already a mandate in place requiring all students to be vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021, in order to sign up for the spring semester.
The mandate impacts workers at all public colleges and universities in Nevada including Nevada State College, UNR, UNLV, and the College of Southern Nevada. Medical and religious exemptions will be considered.
The vaccination rate among staff has been growing in recent months. In September, around 75% or 18,000 of the nearly 24,000 NSHE were already vaccinated. The highest staff vaccination rate was 87% at Desert Research Institute and the lowest was 65% at Western Nevada College.
According to NSHE, employees who are not already vaccinated, they will receive a notice of non-compliance on Oct. 15.
A second warning will be sent on Nov. 1 to employees. Those who are not vaccinated by Dec. 1 will be fired.
8 News Now spoke with UNLV employees regarding the latest news on the vaccine mandate and received a mixed reaction.
“I have been a happy employee for 20 years and I would be a happy employee for the next 20 years, but I will not be a subject of an unnecessary policy that removes basic rights from an employee,” said Derek Jones a UNLV employee.
“I am pleased that the mandate was passed, despite the public comment that was sadly overwhelmingly against it,” said Shannon Sumpter a UNLV Faculty Member.
One concern brought up was the impact the mandate will have on staffing levels.
NSHE says it’s working to mitigate the staffing concerns and says there are measures in place for those who have a change of heart.
An employee that is fired for not getting the vaccine, may request to be reinstated within 30 days of their termination, once they verify they are fully vaccinated.
Employees can submit medical or religious exemptions and will then be vetted by NSHE officials and experts to make sure the forms are accurate and complete.