90% of Virginia Tech students fully vaccinated ahead of Friday deadline

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 3:06 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech’s race to get all students vaccinated before the start of classes is coming down to the wire.

The school’s latest dashboard update shows 90% of students are fully immunized against COVID-19.

A university spokesperson said another 3-4% have filed for a religious or medical exemption.

That leaves 6-7% unaccounted for.

“Bottom line is we want them here and we want them fully-vaccinated, and we want them to engage in the fall semester,” said Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech’s associate vice president for university relations.

Tech is taking a hardline stance with students who miss Friday’s deadline to submit proof of vaccination or an exemption request.

Their course registrations will be placed on hold and could eventually be dropped altogether.

They will also not be allowed to move into university housing.

“Those are some very serious potential consequences that we would love to avoid, just like our students would like to avoid,” said Owczarski.

If any students’ vaccination status remains unknown after Friday, school officials will begin reaching out individually.

“We’re going to continue to work with those students over the next several weeks to make sure that we can resolve every single one of those cases so that all of our students can be back in time for the start of classes,” said Owczarski.

Ultimately, the university hopes for a safe and enjoyable fall semester. Officials believe vaccination is the best way to ensure that.

“We recognize the pandemic is not over,” said Owczarski. “We still may need to make adjustments, pivots and changes along the way.”

University employees are not required to get vaccinated, but so far 70% have.

Earlier this week, Montgomery County Public Schools announced that masks will be required for everyone inside schools.

Owczarski said a similar mask requirement is currently under consideration at Tech, but a final decision has not yet been made.

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