Northwestern University faculty and staff members will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1, with “limited exceptions.”

NU has already announced that students will need to receive COVID shots in order to register for classes this fall. Nearly all of those classes will be held in person, with just a small number of graduate level courses remaining either hybrid or remote.

In an online message, University Vice President Luke Figora and two other top administrators say the campus positivity rate for COVID-19 is “a very low 0.06.”

“We want everyone in our community who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated in order to ensure a healthy and productive return to campus,” the officials say.

The coronavirus pandemic forced Northwestern to switch to remote learning in March 2020 and the school has been transitioning away from that on the way to in-person classes for 2021-22.

The University says that “some individuals have health conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from being vaccinated,” while others want to wait until the vaccines are switched from emergency FDA authorization to permanent status.

Any employee who opts not to be vaccinated will have to be COVID-tested twice a week on campus, complete a daily symptom tracker and wear a mask in all shared indoor settings.

Once the vaccines move from emergency to permanent FDA authorization, only medical and religious exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Those who are not vaccinated and do not have an approved exception inn place,” Figora’s communication says, “will be escalated to the Provost’s Office (faculty) or Human Resources (staff) for further review and action.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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