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Georgia Southern, Savannah State will not require COVID vaccines

Students returning to Georgia Southern in the fall may find a number of changes.
Students returning to Georgia Southern in the fall may find a number of changes.(source: WTOC)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 2:36 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While some Georgia colleges will mandate the COVID vaccine for a return to campus, Georgia Southern tells us they’re looking to the state.

“As a system, we are going to rely on guidance that is provided from the Georgia Department of Public Health. That is where we started from and that’s what we will continue to do. So right now, we’re encouraging vaccines,” University Communications and Marketing Vice President John Lester said.

While students are back on campus and in classes at Georgia Southern University, there are several safety precautions in place like masking and more. Leaders say 25 percent of their classes are still happening online or hybrid, but come this fall they want to be back for a full return to the college experience.

While they won’t require the vaccine, they have provided information to students about its safety and efficacy. They also have several options to get a shot from drive-thru clinics and more.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it easy and accessible. Down here in Savannah, we’ve recently partnered with a couple of local agencies to have a walk-in clinic on our campus both for our faculty, students and staff and for the general public so we’re partnering with everybody we can think of to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to get vaccinated,” Lester said.

Savannah State University was also asked if they would require the vaccine, and they said they would not, but are encouraging their campus community to be vaccinated before returning this fall. They too are hoping for a return to normal operations.

The University System of Georgia said their campuses have administered approximately 65,000 doses and are continuing those efforts now. While they did not comment on a vaccine requirement, they say they work closely with DPH and the governor’s office to keep their campuses safe.

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