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UC San Diego Planning Full Fall Reopening With Hopes Of Required Vaccinations

A man walks by a COVID-19 testing sign at UC San Diego campus, Sept. 28, 2020.

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: A man walks by a COVID-19 testing sign at UC San Diego campus, Sept. 28, 2020.

UC San Diego campus, university officials are planning on a full reopening in the fall. But achieving that goal might depend on whether the University of California Regents require students and staff on all UC campuses to be vaccinated.

UC San Diego has thus far been a success story in controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Thanks to mandatory testing and safety protocols, about 8,700 students are living on campus, and the positivity rate among students is a fraction of the countywide rate.

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said students deserve most of the credit.

UC San Diego Planning Full Fall Reopening With Hopes Of Required Vaccinations

Reported by Joe Hong

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“Our students behaved in an exemplary manner. I mean it was unbelievable,” Khosla said. “We were expecting it and they beat our expectations and then some. To me, they were the reason we were so successful.”

A number of private universities across the country, including the University of San Diego, have already announced that they will require vaccinations for returning students and staff in the fall.

However, there has been no word as of yet from most public university systems. That includes the UC Regents and the California State University system, which oversees San Diego State University.

Khosla said if UC San Diego were a private institution, he would require vaccinations except for people who aren’t able to for medical reasons or strongly held religious beliefs.

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“At the end of the day, our job is not to be just individually independent, we also need to be part of a societal structure,” he said. “In addition to safeguarding ourselves, we also have to be responsible for people around us.”

Experts on Khosla’s team echo his sentiments. Robert Schooley, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego who oversaw the COVID-19 task force at the university, said the COVID-19 vaccine should be added to the list of immunization requirements for students living on UC campuses.

“That’s why we have for example the Measles, chicken pox and bacterial meningitis vaccines required,” Schooley said. “The COVID vaccines are actually better than the ones we already have and the disease is more severe. So, it really makes medical sense for these kinds of settings to have vaccines be a part of one of the requirements to be here.”

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