Southern University System president-chancellor Ray Belton made headlines Tuesday night after releasing a statement officially mandating all Southern students, faculty, and staff to show proof of vaccination prior to attending any SU campus in January 2022.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our university community has maintained a steadfast commitment to safety and wellness,” said Belton through an official statement. “As we manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to need your assistance and support.”

Southern joins Philander Smith College and Johnson C. Smith University among HBCUs that have mandated proof of vaccination since the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval expectations of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have increased.

The official statement also promoted the ‘Shot for 100’ vaccine incentive program sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Health, which provides students with $100 VISA gift cards for being vaccinated.

Current students will have until the Spring 2022 pre-registration deadline of Monday, October 25 to show evidence of being vaccinated. Details of where to upload documentation are expected to be released. Members of the SU community who are not vaccinated, choose to opt out, or do not provide any status will be subject to a mandatory COVID testing program. Future students will need to take the vaccine along with the existing list of immunizations for admission.

“I am grateful for your adherence to our campus preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, and ask for your continued patience and flexibility over the coming weeks as we continue to adjust based upon the most recent guidance,” said Belton through the statement.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for all current residential students through the Student Health Center by calling 225-771-4770 to schedule a visit. Free community COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are also available with no appointment needed at the Moody Intramural Sports Complex from 8am-6pm Monday through Saturday. For campus-specific testing and vaccination information, students are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Affairs, and employees are advised to contact Human Resources.

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