Nova Southeastern University drops COVID-19 vaccine requirement, citing new state law

Aerial rendering of Nova Southeastern University's Clearwater campus (Photo: NSU)

A private university in Florida will no longer require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when they return to campus this fall.

Last month, Nova Southeastern University said it would make vaccinations mandatory by August 1.

However, the university rescinded that requirement this week, citing a new Florida law that takes effect this July only allowing voluntary vaccine programs.

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Instead, NSU says it is creating a voluntary disclosure program in order to calculate the percentage of on-campus students who have been vaccinated.

"We are striving for a high voluntary vaccination rate for the NSU community to enable NSU’s campuses to return to normalcy this fall," university president George Hanbury said in a statement.

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If the university reaches an 80% threshold, the school says that return to normalcy will include more social gatherings and in-person classes with "less need for masks and distancing."

The university has 6,314 undergraduate students and 14,574 advanced degree students at its main campus in Davie, and across campuses in Clearwater, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens and Puerto Rico.

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