CSU students return to campus with vaccine requirement in place

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- After more than a year of mostly remote learning, thousands of students within the California State University system headed back into classrooms on Monday.

On the first day of school for Cal State Long Beach and Dominguez Hills, among others, students were met with some changes due to the ongoing pandemic.

The CSU system announced in July that it will require faculty, staff and students who are going to be on any university campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30.

"For us, since we're housing on campus, it's required and I am glad it is, because it makes us feel a little more safe on campus, especially being around so many more people as we're dorming," said junior Renee Moreno.

Dr. Jane Close Conoley, President of CSULB, says the campus has been open throughout the pandemic, but only at 3% capacity. This year, they brought it up to 50% for in-person learning.

She said the vaccination requirement is the foundation of the school's ability to bring people back on campus.

"Without it, we'd be in the same position we were before the vaccine was developed and made available so it's critical that the vast majority of our faculty, staff and students (receive it)," she said.

There are some exemptions to the requirement, on a medical or religious basis, but Conoley says only about 1% of the campus body has asked for one.

In addition, students and employees are required to fill out a daily health questionnaire before going on campus and wear a mask while indoors.

Freshman Alice Malin Melo said she feels safer with the requirement.

"I'm going to be more engaged in my classes, being able to do it from a library, I have some in-person classes. I think it's just going to overall be easier to learn," she said.

Conoley says they expect to resume with 100% capacity in the spring semester.

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