Vaccination requirement sweeps two New Mexico universities

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thousands of college students across the state are at risk of getting removed from their classes. The University of New Mexico said it’ll part ways with people who don’t follow its policies.

There is a mandatory vaccine deadline — on Thursday, Sept. 30 — for students and staff.

On Monday, KOB 4 learned what the university will do with people who aren’t vaccinated.

For students, the school will ask them to get tested weekly, they need to upload a test result by Oct. 8. If the school hasn’t heard from them by Nov. 5, they’ll be disenrolled from UNM.

For faculty and staff, there will be different processes. The school will eventually say goodbye to those who don’t comply and it’ll be "non-disciplinary separation."

UNM Spokesperson Cinnamon Blair said the school wants to keep everyone in the classroom, but it felt like it had to make this decision.

"I think there was a lot of thought put into it by a lot of people here at the university in terms of how one goes about that. It’s not a simple disenrollment, and we’re still wanting to work with students."

UNM said it’s been telling students about the rules in all kinds of different ways for about two months.

"We really want our students, faculty and staff who have not yet responded to work with us to either fill out their exemption forms, get their vaccinations, work with us so we can have a successful semester,” said Blair.

The university has offered shots, and thousands have taken advantage of the opportunity. Plus, the university has distributed $1.8 million in incentives.

"I think we’ve done a really great job, and it’s all thanks to our community. No one person can make this happen, and so I think it’s a real testament to Lobos wanting to protect themselves, each other and the people around them,” Blair said.

Many haven’t confirmed their vaccination status. Across all UNM campuses, 14% of students haven’t responded and that’s around 3,500 people. Nearly half of those are dual-credit high school students.

For staff, 5% haven’t responded. Among just faculty, only 49 haven’t, that’s just 1.5%.

Any students who still do not get vaccinated — even if they’re getting tested this semester — will not be able to register for spring classes, unless they get a vaccine.

New Mexico State University also has a mandatory vaccine policy with a deadline of Thursday Sept. 30. A school spokesperson said it doesn’t yet have the numbers on how many students and staff are vaccinated.