California State University — the nation’s largest four-year public university system — will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall semester. Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed, with unvaccinated students having to undergo regular coronavirus testing.
The decision announced Tuesday was prompted by the ongoing rise in the Delta variant throughout California. It came one day after state officials announced that government and healthcare workers would be required to show proof of vaccination, and more than a week after the University of California mandated vaccines for students and employees.
“The current surge in COVID cases due to the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant is an alarming new factor that we must consider as we look to maintain the health and well-being of students, employees and visitors to our campuses this fall,” said Cal State Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “Receiving a COVID vaccine continues to be the best way to mitigate the spread of the virus. We urge all members of the CSU community to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and announcing this requirement now allows members of the CSU community to receive multiple doses of a vaccine as we head into the beginning of the fall term.”
Cal State’s process will largely rely on trust, spokesperson Mike Uhlenkamp said. Students would have to certify that they are fully vaccinated or seeking an exemption and attest that their answers are accurate and truthful. A Cal State campus could independently request proof of vaccination as a next step in the initial certification process.
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