Wesleyan College in West Virginia has announced that unvaccinated students or those without proof of vaccination will have to pay a $750 non-refundable fee if they attend classes this fall semester.
The school will also collect an additional $250 for students who get sick with COVID-19 and will need to quarantine in the school. The infected students will be given 48 hours to stay at a "contained housing" facility. However, they will still have to be responsible for making arrangements at an off-campus quarantine site while remaining positive for the virus.
In an interview with CBS News, Dean James Moore said that the fees collected will cover the cost of testing and other resources so Wesleyan College can keep all of the students safe from the infection. As of press time, 90 percent of the school's staff are fully vaccinated, while a large population of their student body has had their shots.
In addition to the fees, unvaccinated students at the university will also be mandated to wear a face mask and practice social distancing, especially in indoor settings. They will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests while their access to some venues around the school will be limited.
On the other hand, fully vaccinated students may choose to wear face masks at their discretion. They are also free to join any normal on-campus activities.
Mandatory Vaccination Eyed
Wesleyan College school officials will also consider making the jab mandatory once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives its full approval. Currently, vaccines in the U.S. only have emergency use approval for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
However, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he expects FDA's full approval for Pfizer by the end of August. Meanwhile, President Joe Bidens said that he would not make vaccinations mandatory except for government workers.
But hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are also planning mandatory vaccinations this fall. Some schools have begun revoking enrollments or blocking the registrations of unvaccinated students. At Virginia Tech, students launched an online petition stating that mandatory vaccination is a violation of their rights.
Lynn Pasquerella of the Association of American Colleges and Universities said that schools could not afford a repeat of last year when classes were derailed due to virus outbreaks on campus. A significant number of kids also opted out of their online classes.
However, as of July 2021, less than 29 percent of adults or college kids between 18 to 24 have had at least their first vaccine jab. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the lowest rate among eligible age groups.
Incentives for the Vaccinated
Some colleges, however, are offering incentives to students who have been immunized. At Rutgers University, students can win a $500 gift card from the school's technology store if they enter a raffle draw with their uploaded proof of vaccination. Rowan University is also offering a $500 credit for students who register with proof of vaccination.
At Missouri State University, lucky vaccinated students can enter draws where the prizes include free full year's tuition, housing accommodations, unlimited meals or school supplies, and designated parking slots. The college will reveal the winners on September 24.
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