LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – New Mexico State University students have to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face dis enrollment from the university.
An engineering student who says she is set to graduate in the Spring of 2023 says she does not want to get the vaccine, so unless she can get an exemption she won’t be getting her degree from NMSU.
“I would love to stay and continue my education and finish off as I planned but if I have to, I guess I would have to look at options,” said Kimberly Vasquez an NMSU engineering major.
Vasquez added that she was already let go from her on-campus job as NMSU faculty were already required to get the COVID-19 vaccine back in January. While no longer employed by the university she was hoping to finish her undergrad.
“You put so many years here and money and work to go to college and now you know, it’s just, it’s an ultimatum.”
NMSU notified students of the requirement on Monday.
“We don’t want to lose our students, our students are the reason we’re here but we do want them to be safe,” said Jon Webster the Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and the COVID-19 Project Manager.
Officials students who are enrolled in classes who will be on campus for any reason must be vaccinated by July 1. While August 1 is the deadline for those incoming new and or transfer students.
“They have the option for a medical or religious exemption but they must have one of those exemptions approved if they opt not to vaccinate they do face dis-enrollment because this is our long-term plan to keep our community, students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible,” said Webster.
Webster says currently 91 percent of on-campus NMSU students are already vaccinated, with either two doses of two-dose vaccines or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson.
One of those students is Freshman Isabella Ross says who says she is already vaccinated. KTSM 9 News asked Ross what she thought about students now needing the vaccine.
“There’s always online school as an option, I think safety is our biggest priority but at the same time like I feel like we’ve delt with this for so long and now we don’t even have our mask mandate.
NMSU has been offering weekly testing for those students who weren’t vaccinated, but say the testing is time-consuming and there is the uncertainty of how much longer those tests will be free. The weekly testing on campus will end on May 5.