SDSU requires COVID-19 vaccine, no longer pending FDA approval


by Trinity Bland, Managing Editor

On July 27, the California State University (CSU) system declared the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for students, faculty and staff, including auxiliary employees in order to access campus this fall. As outlined by the CSU, this requirement is not conditional on full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, canceling all prior uncertainty surrounding the effective date. 

President Adela de la Torre shared in an email updates to San Diego State COVID-19 policies and what the university plans to do to ensure the safety of all of its students, faculty, staff and community members..

SDSU will implement mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for all students. However, the mandatory weekly testing will only be required for unvaccinated students with an approved medical or religious exemption on file with the university. 

The CSU COVID-19 vaccination requirement does allow for students, faculty and staff to seek an exemption based on medical or religious justification. Exemption requests for students and non-represented faculty and staff must be submitted before August 16. Additional information on medical and religious exemptions can be found here.

If an individual is in the process of being vaccinated but will not be fully vaccinated by August 20, the first official day of the fall semester, they can complete a temporary waiver request. This will enroll the individual in a testing program until they are fully vaccinated.

While details for faculty and staff are still being worked out, students on an approved vaccination exemption will receive weekly reminders about ways to get tested.

For students living on campus in the fall, the university is requiring that all residents show a negative COVID-19 test prior to moving in and must upload a copy of their test results to the university’s HealtheConnect portal at least 48 hours before moving in. Tests must be taken no earlier than one week prior to their move-in date. This pre-arrival testing requirement applies to all on-campus residents, regardless of vaccination status. 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or fails to upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test, they will not be permitted to move into on-campus housing during the move-in period. 

All faculty and staff, including auxiliary employees with the SDSU Research Foundation, Associated Students and Aztec Shops, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under the updated CSU vaccine policy. CSU officials are currently in the process of meeting and conferring with its labor unions. Once finalized, they will share more details for represented employees at a later date.

All non-represented faculty and staff, including auxiliary employees, must submit their completed vaccination documentation to HealtheConnect by August 16. The upload process takes about ten minutes and is different from the self-attestation form, which most faculty and staff members have already completed.

Due to the prevailing nature of the pandemic and the importance of vaccinations for individual and community wellness, the university will take action if any student doesn’t comply with the COVID-19 vaccination guidelines or testing requirement.

Students who miss their testing windows during the fall semester will be notified via their official SDSU email accounts. Students who remain uncooperative for more than five days after missing their testing window must meet with the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities. 

Due to the extremity of the ongoing public health concern surrounding the global pandemic, sanctions are possible for students who do not comply in the interest of individual and community safety.

COVID-19 vaccination has remained the single most effective tool for both preventing spread and significantly mitigating symptoms or risk to individual health, according to data from San Diego County. Over the last month, 98% of cases requiring hospitalization in San Diego County have been among those who are not vaccinated.

As of July 20, Student Health Services has offered all three vaccines available in the United States: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, accessible to any faculty, staff or student by making an appointment through HealtheConnect.