Home / COVID-19 Updates / Masks and COVID vaccine completely optional for students this fall
To date, there have been no reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Valdosta State.

Masks and COVID vaccine completely optional for students this fall

On May 18, VSU announced that face masks and social distancing would no longer be required on campus during the summer 2021 and fall 2021 semesters.

Robbyn DeSpain, director of strategic communications at VSU, disclosed this development in COVID-19 policy in an email to VSU students and faculty.

According to the email, fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people can return to campus without wearing masks or having to social distance, however, unvaccinated people are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Students will still be able to get the vaccine from Student Health Services during the current summer and upcoming fall semesters.

This new, relaxed policy that VSU has implemented after receiving guidance from the University System of Georgia (USG) is based on personal responsibility. VSU will not be tracking which students are or are not vaccinated.

The recent uprising of the Delta variant, which has been discovered in a few states, has not affected VSU’s COVID-19 policy going into the fall semester.

“The email I sent in May is the latest guidance we have received from the University System of Georgia,” DeSpain said. “The COVID vaccine is still available in the Student Health Center for any interested students, faculty and staff.”

VSU will continue to work with the USG to implement any changes to the campus’ COVID-19 policy, but it doesn’t appear that any changes will be made before classes resume in August.

“At this point, our guidance on this has not changed,” said Dr. Robert T. Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Come Fall, we strongly encourage anyone who is not vaccinated to continue to wear masks and social distance.”

Smith urges unvaccinated people to take advantage of the vaccines available on campus as well.

According to DeSpain’s email from May, Alternate Work Arrangements (AWA) and Alternate Educational Arrangements (AEA) ended on June 30. Students and faculty are expected to return to campus as normal—unless they have special circumstances that allow them to work or take classes online—in the fall.

Fully vaccinated students and faculty are no longer required to quarantine after being in contact with people who have COVID-19. Unvaccinated students and faculty will still be expected to self-report using the MyVSU portal.

Student life activities will resume as usual in the fall, and events and gatherings will adhere to the most recent executive order from Gov. Kemp.

At this point, according to Smith, Gov. Kemp has relaxed limitations on official VSU travel, so university employees may travel as needed as long as their supervisors approve.

VSU athletic teams will continue to adhere to NCAA and Gulf South Conference guidelines.

Written by Zach Edmondson, sports editor. Graphic courtesy of The Spectator.

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One comment

  1. Kathy Raess-Young

    “Strongly encouraged to get vaccinated” doesn’t seem to be working with the general public. Is it really going to work with collage students? Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I will be wearing a mask at work this Fall semester.

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