Emory to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for faculty, staff

People wear face coverings while navigating the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. Emory will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty and staff for the fall 2021 semester. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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People wear face coverings while navigating the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. Emory will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty and staff for the fall 2021 semester. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Emory University is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to include faculty and staff.

President Gregory Fenves announced the requirement for the fall semester in a letter Tuesday to the university community. Currently, more than 85% of Emory faculty, staff, and students are fully vaccinated, Fenves said in the letter. “The recent rise in COVID-19 cases is connected to a surge in transmission among unvaccinated individuals, and although the Emory vaccination percentages are high, we must do even better.”

Vaccinations are already required for students to be on campus for the fall semester when classes resume Aug. 25. Like students, Emory staff and faculty can apply for a vaccination exemption based on medical reasons and for strong personal objections. Those with exemptions will be required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing.

ExploreEmory, Atlanta’s HBCUs to require students get COVID-19 vaccine
caption arrowCaption
A person walks their dog on the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

A person walks their dog on the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

caption arrowCaption
A person walks their dog on the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

“The COVID-19 vaccines—which Emory researchers played a role in developing and testing—have been highly effective and are our strongest defense against the virus. Yet the pandemic is not over,” Fenves said. “With the spread of the Delta variant and rising COVID-19 cases in Georgia, we must remain committed to protecting the health of the Emory community, and it starts with getting vaccinated.”

Emory, the state’s largest private university with about 15,000 students, also requires masks when inside campus buildings. School officials are monitoring conditions and could increase COVID-19 testing if necessary, Fenves said.

Staff writer Eric Stirgus contributed to this story.