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VCU students move in ahead of start to fall semester

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Commonwealth University was filled with families moving their incoming college students into the dorms on campus as the start of the fall semester approaches.

Before the start of the upcoming school year, VCU announced students will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This excludes those with religious or health exemptions.

This requirement mirrors another requirement for employees at VCU and VCU Health to get the shot.

The university is also reenacting its mask mandate throughout campus amid a rise in cases throughout the Richmond area.

On Sunday, Kristlyn Araujo moved her daughter into a dorm as she starts her new chapter at VCU.

“I’m happy she’s come to campus,” Araujo said. “I want her to be able to come to classes and engage with instructors and other students.”

Kristlyn says she’s not too nervous about her daughter as cases of COVID-19 rise across the country, including Central Virginia.

“She’s very aware of her surroundings and will keep her hands clean,” she said. “She’s fully vaccinated and will be wearing a mask in heavily populated areas.”

According to the CDC’s COVID transmission tracker, a majority of cities and counties in Virginia are experiencing a high transmission rate of the virus.

Other students who moved in say they’re comfortable with the protocols and are adapting to the changes.

“I’m kind of used to it,” Abby Lutz, a VCU student, said. “I think it’s still very different, but I’m getting used to it like having to meet people in a different way.”

“It’s really nice to be social as much as possible again,” Katherine Zickel, another VCU student said.

As for vaccinations, VCU faculty and staff will have until Sept. 1 to report their vaccinations or exemptions to the university.

VCU Health employees must have their first dose by Sept. 15.

On Aug. 4, VCU said they will place registration holds on accounts for students who do not submit their vaccination records or complete the exemption process.

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