West Virginia Wesleyan College plans to fine students $750 if they arrive on campus without being vaccinated against COVID-19 or without providing proof of being vaccinated, CBS News reports.
The school, which is a private liberal arts institution in Buckhannon, is pushing for all of its students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the school year starts. All are required to show the college proof of vaccination by Aug. 8, and anyone who contracts the virus while school is in session this fall will have to pay a $250 quarantine fee, with students staying for free in "contained housing" for 48 hours before having to find their own off-campus housing.
"That fee is going to be used to cover the expenses that will come with increased testing and other resources that the college will have to utilize and deploy to keep every student safe," the school’s dean, James Moore, told local CBS affiliate WDTV.
Students who do not provide proof of vaccination, either of their first dose or their second, before Sept. 7 will receive a fine. Those students will also be required to undergo weekly testing for COVID-19, the cost of which is covered by the fee, and will have limited use of the school’s facilities and indoor areas, while vaccinated students "may return to normal on-campus activity and are not required to wear a mask unless they choose to do so." Faculty and staff who are not vaccinated will also have to take weekly COVID-19 tests.
"The safety of each and every member of the campus community is the College's highest priority," the university told CBS. "We continue to urge all members of the Wesleyan campus community to follow all safety and public health protocols."
The college noted that about 90% of its faculty and staff have already received the vaccine, and said that "a large percentage" of students have reported getting vaccinated. They also said that while they have not mandated the vaccine, they may do so if the Food and Drug Administration grants the vaccines full approval.
"We're putting our healthcare workers and our hospitals in an exceptionally difficult position if we don't pick up the pace of vaccination," Jim Hoyer, the director of the Joint Interagency Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccines, told CBS in a statement.
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