Dear Shaw University Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As you are aware, the effectiveness of our pandemic response has relied on various approaches for combating COVID-19—social distancing, enhanced cleaning, remote working/teaching, Plexiglas barriers, testing, and restrictions on visitors and events.
In recent months, safe and effective vaccines, which are proven to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission and the risk of serious illness when the disease is contracted has become widely available. We are committed to vaccine access for students and employees; we know that widespread vaccination is the best way to expediate a return to a healthy and synergistic campus life — normalcy. The last year has been incredibly difficult for so many in our community, but with the availability of these vaccines, there is much to be hopeful about in the months ahead and returning to some of the ways things were.
With this in mind, we plan to require all new and returning Shaw University students to present proof of vaccination to Student Health before they can enroll for the Fall 2021 semester. This policy will cover all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students—in all degree programs—who intend to be on the Shaw campus for any period of time starting with the Fall 2021 semester. Documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated.
In accordance with Shaw University’s duty to provide and maintain a campus that is free of known hazards, we are adopting this policy to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our students and visitors, and the community at large from an infectious disease that may be reduced by vaccination. In making this decision, the Board of Trustees and executive leadership team reviewed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and local health officials. Federal, state, and local public health and medical experts agree that having as many people getting vaccinated as quickly as possible is our best defense against the virus.
We have offered every current Shaw student and employee the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on campus. Those students and employees who have not yet received a vaccination are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
The past two semesters have been among the most challenging and consuming in our university’s history. Under great stress, and often at great peril, we have remained committed to each other—and to our mission of advancing knowledge, facilitating learning and achievement, and enhancing spiritual and ethical values. Today, I ask you to unify in taking the next step toward ensuring the safety and vitality of our university community.
Your ongoing faithfulness and flexibility are appreciated, thank you. I am so very proud to call you fellow members of the Shaw U family.
Dr. Paulette Dillard