Rhodes College students will go back to in-person learning for the fall semester but for those without a COVID-19 vaccine, it will cost them.

Rhodes sent an email to students Tuesday that the liberal arts college will charge unvaccinated students a $1,500 Health and Safety fee per semester to cover the costs of mandatory testing.

“Aligned with our long-standing practice and policy requiring health forms and vaccinations, the college fully intends to require the COVID-19 vaccination immediately upon FDA approval,” the email read. “This will be required for students, faculty, staff, vendors and campus partners.”

Until FDA approval, the college strongly recommends full vaccination for anyone who goes to campus and flu vaccines are required for the fall. Those who do not receive vaccines must pay the fee to cover the costs of the student’s weekly COVID-19 testing.

Vice President for Student Life Meghan Harte Weyant, who also leads health and safety efforts, said the college invested in weekly asymptomatic testing for the spring semester which led to a safer campus. Now, Weyant said Rhodes wants to reduce the need for testing by encouraging vaccinations.

“A campus-wide commitment to vaccination will mean that we can move towards full capacity and reduced masking allowing for the intentional in-person campus life experience that we all love about Rhodes,” Weyant said. “We hope our students will choose to be vaccinated to keep themselves, our campus and community safe.”

Weyant said a high percentage of students, faculty and staff have already been vaccinated.

The college said all students should be vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall and can submit their vaccination cards by Aug. 1 on Medicat.

International students who plan to attend Rhodes in the fall but have not received the COVID-19 vaccine can email the Director of International Programs Erin Hillis their intent to be vaccinated and waive the fee.

Students can submit requests for medical or religious vaccine exemptions to Student Accessibility Services by Aug. 2.
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