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VCU to require masking and employee vaccinations

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 09, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will require all university employees, without a medical or religious exemption, to get COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the month. VCU Health System employees have until September 15, the university announced Monday.

In addition, masking indoors was reinstated throughout the university on Monday. It had already been in place at the hospital.

The changes come amid a rise COVID-19 cases in Virginia and around the nation due to the delta variant.

"No one is happy that this pandemic surge is causing us to take these steps. But the science behind these public health measures is clear. Doing so will help protect you from getting sick and protect those around you who are particularly vulnerable to the virus," VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement. "These past few weeks, we heard from thousands of concerned students, families, faculty, staff, team members and patients through surveys and information sessions. Their message to us was clear: they are ready for VCU to take additional measures to combat the spread of COVID-19."

Over the weekend, the University of Virginia announced it was requiring everyone on campus to wear face masks indoors starting Monday. All students, faculty, staff and visitors will have to wear masks when entering any UVA building. It also applies to those who are vaccinated.

Virginia Tech also announced late last week that all instructors and students will have to wear face coverings in classrooms and laboratories when classes begin Aug. 23. And face masks are needed starting Tuesday in indoor public spaces at Virginia Tech properties in communities that have “substantial or high community transmission.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.