DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Nova Southeastern University will resume full, in-person classroom instruction in the fall and will require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We believe that this is the best and the safest path forward,” said NSU’s COO Dr. Harry Moon.READ MORE: Confrontation With Hollywood Police Lands One Man In The Hospital
According to the private university, vaccinations are mandatory by August 1st. However, they have not said when the first day of instruction will be.
“In schools in Broward County, to enroll your child in public school, it requires a vaccination. So this is not out of the ordinary as we look at things,” said Moon.
The university has a “workplace vaccination site” on campus. On Monday, April 5th, it will open to those 18 and older when the state’s age eligibility drops. The site is administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and any NSU student or employee who is eligible can make an appointment online.
NSU is the first school in the country to require both students and staff to be vaccinated.
This comes as Governor Ron DeSantis has publicly said he would fight the idea of so-called vaccine passports.
“The idea that you should have to show that to be able to participate in a normal activity like going to a football game or movie theater or any of that certainly for a government to force you, that’s something that is not acceptable,” DeSantis said during a stop in Miami on Tuesday.
The university said they are looking at this from an institutional basis and doing what their doctors and nurses say is the safest thing to do right now.
“We’re doing this based on the data we have and what we’re trying to achieve which is the safest and best educational experience can have,” said Moon.READ MORE: Zoo Miami Helps Discover A Brand New Spider Species In Miami
While the university will still offer some online classes in 2021, they won’t be offering the BlendFlex model they offered this school year. Blendflex allowed students to choose to attend class either through streaming or in-class instruction.
“We want people to get back into the classroom. We can meet people’s needs and accommodate them as we should, but we want people instructors in the classroom,” said Moon.
Even with mandatory vaccinations, the school said it will continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations on mask-wearing and social distancing.
The university’s main campus is in Davie. It also has campuses in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, and Puerto.
“If the business in any way expects to be licensed by the state of Florida, if they expect to receive any funding by the state of Florida, they will have to follow the requirements that they cannot require you to have a vaccine passport, but that does not mean they can’t require any protocol that requires you to voluntarily tell them if you have been vaccinated or not,” said David Weinstein, Partner Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP.
Weinstein says there is room to wiggle in the executive order.
“It does put businesses in a bit of a bind. They cannot mandate that you show them again this vaccine proof but they can require as a covid protocol that if you want to sit in a certain section as it goes with the Miami Heat, if you want to enter to a specific section, you would need to show them a vaccine proof. And they will let you into this area, but they cannot bar you from coming into the building.”
This executive order is temporary.MORE NEWS: Passing Asteroid Lights Up South Florida Sky
Gov. DeSantis is preparing to work with the Florida legislature to find a permanent ban of vaccine passports.