49.9 percent of undergraduates vaccinated as UC Berkeley finalizes vaccine mandate

Infographic depicting vaccination rates for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff at UC Berkeley and information on how to update vaccination record on eTang
Amber Chia/Staff
University Health Services requires students who have been vaccinated off-campus to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination to their eTang portals by Aug. 4, two weeks before the start of fall semester.

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UC Berkeley released its final vaccination policy July 15, requiring all students and faculty to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to visit campus in person.

In order to comply with the policy, students who have been vaccinated off-campus must submit proof of their vaccination status to their eTang portals by Aug. 4 — two weeks before the fall semester begins.

Those who are partially vaccinated or in the process of receiving their vaccines are still allowed to return to campus. However, they must wear masks in all public spaces and follow campus testing plans, which mandate weekly testing at the very least, until they are fully vaccinated.

“Individuals who fail to Participate by being Vaccinated or requesting an Exception or Deferral on or before the Implementation Date will be barred from Physical Presence at University Facilities and Programs, and may experience consequences as a result of non-Participation, up to and including dismissal from educational programs or employment,” the policy reads.

Students with approved accommodations, disabilities or religious exemptions that prevent them from receiving the vaccine may return to campus unvaccinated, but must be tested regularly and remain masked in all public settings.

Under the policy, pregnant students are eligible for deferrals and may wait to receive their vaccine until the end of their pregnancy, or when they choose to return to campus.

Students who remain unvaccinated but wish to return to school in person must apply for an accommodation or exception by the Aug. 4 deadline, or they may be subject to registration holds, according to the policy.

“Alternative remote instructional programming is not expected to be available in most cases,” the policy reads. “The availability of alternative remote work arrangements will depend on systemwide guidance and any local policies or procedures, as well as the nature of the work to be performed.”

According to the immunization dashboard administered by University Health Services, 49.9% of undergraduate students, 59.7% of graduate students and 74.1% of faculty have reported full vaccination status as of July 21.

University Health Services plans to “ramp up” vaccinations in early August, offering free vaccine clinics for students, faculty and staff on both an appointment and drop-in basis, according to its website.

In contrast to the university’s policy, Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, does not plan to enforce a vaccine mandate on its students or faculty, according to BUSD public information officer Trish McDermott in an email.

“BUSD currently views that the organizations charged with protecting public health at the federal and state levels are in the best position to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in order to attend school,” McDermott said in the email. “The District encourages all students 12 and older, all families, and all employees to be vaccinated against COVID.”

Contact Rachel Raps at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @rachelraps_dc.