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Hartnell College to require students, employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) After a board vote on Tuesday night, Hartnell Community College will soon require students and employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Hartnell's District Governing Board has yet to determine how and when the school will implement the mandate. They are also still discussing if there will be any exemptions, and what those may look like.

"Those are important steps in terms of timing and how vaccination will be shown, and whether there might be any exemptions," said Scott Faust, Director of Communications for Hartnell. "So there is a lot to be figured out. It's also important that the college consults with our [employee] bargaining units."

Tuesday night, the board voted to approve two separate amendments to their communicable disease policies, one for employees, and one for students.

However, the board agreed that students currently enrolled will be able to complete their Fall 2021 classes regardless of their current vaccination status. The semester ends on December 18.

"We want to give students lead time and make sure they understand how they can comply with that vaccination requirement. Certainly not catch them off guard in any way, or interrupt their studies this semester," said Faust.

Students we spoke to on campus had mixed feelings.

"It protects all of us. It keeps all of us safe. It keeps us able to play sports, able to come to school in class, able to do more things that we couldn't do with the pandemic. Me personally, I hated the pandemic. I don't want the pandemic to keep going," said Jalen Hernandez, who plays baseball at Hartnell College.

Still, one student we spoke to did say the mandate would make him rethink re-enrolling next semester.

"What I've seen in my experience with my family and them getting vaccinated, it made them sick and I don't really want to get that risk, you know? So, yeah, I would probably stop coming here," said Andrew May.

But Hartnell College says they are joining a majority of California community colleges and both the University of California and California State University systems that already have similar mandates.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.


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