GV mandates COVID-19 vaccine for students, faculty, staff as fall semester approaches


GVL/Katherine Vasile, 04/14/21, Vaccine clinic at GVSU and Vaccine Mandates, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401

Audrey Whitaker, News Editor

Grand Valley State University announced that students, faculty and staff will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as the university preps for the fall semester.

In an email sent to the GVSU community on Friday, Aug. 1, president Philomena Mantella said that in anticipation of FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccination in early September, GVSU will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated by Sept. 30. 

There will be exemptions for medical and religious reasons, however, those who remain unvaccinated will be tested weekly for COVID-19, according to Mantella’s email. 

Greg Sanial, vice president for Finance and Administration and Virus Action Team director said that consequences for those who remain unvaccinated without medical or religious exemptions are not yet finalized.

“In the end, if they’re absolutely refusing to get vaccinated, we would expect them to seek their education elsewhere, or employment elsewhere,” Sanial said. “There’s going to be many steps in that process before we get to that, and we hope with engagement and education and understanding that we won’t have to get there.”

Students, faculty and staff must report their vaccination status in the daily self-assessment, Sanial said. This information will be verified with an uploaded photo of the vaccination card or will be cross-checked with health department databases. 

Sanial said that the decision to mandate vaccination is in the interest of providing a safe environment for education, which aligns with GVSU’s mission.

“We engaged across our campus community both students, faculty, staff in very deliberative consultations,” Sanial said. “We want to have the safest campus we can, which is consistent with our mission”

Sanial encouraged the GVSU community to get vaccinated as soon as possible- be it through a healthcare provider or one of GVSU’s free vaccine clinics. 

“We will offer free vaccine clinics on campus when move-in begins on August 24 and as the first week of classes [begins],” Sanial said. “We’ve had similar vaccine clinics on campus during the summer.” 

According to the GVSU COVID-19 Data Dashboard, about 79% of faculty and staff have been fully vaccinated, while the number for students hovers around 31%. 

“Of those students who’ve reported their status on their self-assessment about 60% have had at least one shot,” Sanial said. “We have a data gap because not everybody has indicated one way or another if they’ve been vaccinated.”

Additionally, Mantella announced via email that face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces for all faculty, staff, students and visitors on all GVSU campuses beginning August 9. This is a step back from the June 25 decision, which lifted mask requirements for vaccinated people everywhere except classrooms. 


For more information regarding the vaccine mandate and vaccination clinics, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/lakerstogether/vaccine-information-sars-cov-2-covid-19-48.htm

For more information regarding the face covering policy, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/lakerstogether/face-covering-policy-27.htm