COVID-19 vaccination requirements to register for spring classes


Photo by: Maggie Bychurch

Nicholls State University has updated the school’s Immunization Requirement list to include at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in order for students to register for the Spring 2022 semester. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23 for individuals 16 years or older.President Jay Clune sent an email later that day informing students of its addition to the required immunizations.

With the dates for class registration growing closer, many unvaccinated students will soon have to make a decision that will impact the future of their education at the University.

“Technically, this is not a mandate. Due to the fact that Louisiana has a law in place that allows students to either have a doctor say you are medically incapable of receiving the vaccine, there is an out. You also have, as a student, the right to a written dissent. It can be for any number of reasons,” Director of Communications Jerad David said. “It can be philosophical, medical, whatever. Basically, dissent means you don’t agree with it. You can write a statement saying you don’t believe in the vaccine and by law, we have to accept that.”

David stressed that the requirement of the COVID-19 vaccine or a written dissent is just one of many vaccinations that students are required to have. The only major difference between students who receive the vaccine and students who submit written dissent is that in the case of an outbreak on campus, students who are not vaccinated will be asked to evacuate. This will be for their safety as well as the safety of others. 

Although students have the option of submitting a form of written dissent (available on the University Health Services page of the Nicholls website) or getting the vaccine, they must choose one or the other. 

“If a student does not receive at least that first dose of the vaccine or provide that written dissent by Oct. 25, there will be a hold placed on their account on Banner. They won’t be able to register for classes in the spring,” David said. “We also have the ability to drop your classes if for some reason your classes get scheduled and you have not provided that written dissent or you have not received that first shot.” 

David also stated that the holds placed on Banner will make it unlikely for the school to have to drop students’ classes. The only way classes will be dropped is if an unvaccinated student does not submit their written dissent form but still gets to register due to some kind of mistake in the system. 

These same consequences also apply to all of the other vaccines on the Immunization Requirement list. Students are required to have proof of receiving their vaccinations by their second semester of college. If a student does not get vaccinated or provide written dissent for any of these by their second semester, a hold will also be placed on their Banner account. 

Students who received their COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana do not need to provide proof of their vaccination to Nicholls. Instead, University Health Services has access to a system called LINKS that keeps track of all of the vaccines that the school requires. The system will be able to prove that you were vaccinated. However, unvaccinated students will still have to fill out the written dissent form, sign it, and bring it to University Health Services. 

“It is really important for students to get that vaccine or provide written dissent before Oct. 25,” David said. “That way it does not hamper their ability to get in classes for the Spring.”