Statement regarding COVID compliance messages

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Oct. 11, 2021

Colorado State University is not arresting students who are unvaccinated. This is a misrepresentation of the university’s communication to students. More than 2,400 CSU students are not vaccinated and they are free to come and go from our campuses as they want, including to attend classes (https://covid.colostate.edu/fall-2021-student-and-employee-vaccine-stats/).

The week of Sept. 27, Student Conduct Services began contacting 1,325 students – approximately 5 percent of the more than 27,000 with on-campus classes or activities — because they had not yet provided the university with information about their vaccine status or declared an exemption. Exemptions are allowed based on medical reasons or for a religious or personal objection (no documentation is required). Students and employees are allowed to choose not to get the vaccine and are required to screen for COVID twice a week if they declare an exemption.

Students were required to submit their vaccine status or declare an exemption by Aug. 18. Between May and Aug. 18, students received seven direct emails with information about how to submit their vaccine status; messages were also shared on social media, in orientation presentations, with parents, in messages from the university’s pandemic team, and online.

After Aug. 18, students who had not yet provided their status received two additional, personal emails alerting them that they must submit their information within two weeks or their names would be forwarded to Student Conduct Services. Names were forwarded to that office in late September.

The message did not indicate that students were required to be vaccinated or they would face consequences;   the university has consistently said that students or employees could declare an exemption and that has not changed. Rather, the message clearly advised  students who had not responded that they must do so by providing their vaccine status or declaring an exemption and that failing to either of those things would result in consequences through the Student Conduct Code.

Since receiving the Student Conduct Services message, more than 900 of the 1,325 students who were contacted have provided their vaccine information to the university or declared an exemption, most of whom were vaccinated but had simply not taken the steps to provide their status through an online portal.

The communication from Student Conduct Services states that students who do not provide their vaccine information or declare an exemption are not allowed on campuses until they provide their information, and that coming onto a campus before they provide their information will be considered trespassing by the university.