CNM requiring vaccines by Oct. 1 for in-person students, staff


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – First it was the University of New Mexico. Now the state’s second-largest college is requiring students and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.

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An email from CNM President Tracy Hartzler to students states the mandate is happening because of the contagious Delta variant. But, some people are torn on whether the college should be able to enforce it. “I think it’s absolutely necessary,” CNM parent Navida Johnson stated. “I think that if we want to have open classrooms and in-person instruction, we need to do everything we can to make sure we’re all safe.”

“That’s how I feel, like we don’t have a choice to do it and that’s going against your civil liberties,” CNM student Jennifer Perez added about getting the vaccine after, she says, the state started pushing it.

President Hartzler’s email stated any faculty, staff, or students who learn or work on campus will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1. CNM is in the process of implementing an online system where people can upload their proof of vaccination for their more than 25,000 students.

Right now, the vaccine is approved for emergency-use authorization only. CNM says once the vaccine becomes fully FDA approved, the only permitted exemptions from the vaccine requirement after Oct. 1 will be for health conditions or religious beliefs, and students taking online classes.

Some students said that requirement would make them feel safer on campus. “With the new delta strain, you know, you want to take any precaution that you can and try to get things back to normal,” CNM student and employee Norberto Hernandez explained.

Unvaccinated students and staff will have to take covid tests twice a week, wear masks and complete a health assessment each day they’re on campus. Vaccinated students still have to wear masks indoors, for now.

KRQE News 13 asked officials if they’ll no longer require masks on campus if enough people get vaccinated. They said they’ll follow the CDC and state guidance when that time comes.

The college said unvaccinated students who get their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines soon can be fully vaccinated at the start of the fall term. People who get the J & J shot will be fully vaccinated by the start of school. The college is also reminding students of the state’s $100 incentive for people who get vaccinated in August.

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