LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University says less than a third of its students submitted proof of vaccination for COVID-19 by a Thursday deadline to otherwise undergo weekly testing or leave the university.
While 72.3% of the university’s employees provided proof of vaccination, only 30% of students did, officials said Friday.
It’s not clear how many students who didn’t submit proof of vaccination by the deadline plan to submit weekly test results, officials said.
“We’re not where we want to be with our vaccinated students,” said Jon Webster, the school’s COVID-19 project manager. “We want to make sure we’re protecting all of our students.”
Failure to submit vaccination information or weekly test results can result in student suspension or staff termination, officials said.
Students can get vaccinated at any point in the semester and cease the weekly required testing once achieving full vaccination, Webster said.
“We are seeing new submissions continue to come in, so we expect our final verified total to be significantly higher than what we’re seeing today and to continue to rise over the next several weeks as some students and employees receive their second dose and update their cards,” Webster said.
He said the university was continuing to reach out to students through text message, email, social media and other channels.
Several students said Friday they were unaware of the mandate’s details, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
Sophomore Alvaro Oliva said he’s vaccinated but hadn’t heard of the requirement.
“You get a whole bunch of emails from your classes and all that jazz, but the emails slip through,” Oliva said.
However, senior Alisa Schott said it would be hard to not have heard about the requirement.
“It’s kind of everywhere,” Schott said. “My professors talk about it all the time.”
Freshman Ester Bocanegra said she’s partially vaccinated and didn’t know which website to use to submit information. “I’m sure people are confused,” she said.
Sophomore Issac Duarte said students are focused on other things right now, especially midterms.
“The vaccination is not really something that’s a priority for us,” he said.
The university’s main campus is in Las Cruces. It also has campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants and elsewhere.