Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are now required to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

University officials formally announced that policy on Thursday. The announcement comes one month after the university said it would mandate the vaccine for students once it received Food and Drug Administration approval.

Other COVID-related policies, including mask and social distancing mandates, remain in place.

"Students who plan to take winter intersession or spring semester courses at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will need to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination," university officials said in a press release announcing the mandate.

Students have a deadline of September 20th to receive the first dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. The university will put a registration hold on students who refuse to comply with that order. That hold will be lifted once a student receives both doses of the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Students who receive or have received the vaccine in Louisiana do not need to report their vaccine status; the Louisiana Department of Health will automatically send that information to the university. Students who get their shots outside of the state must upload a picture of their vaccination card to the university's student health portal.

Students may request an exemption on personal or medical grounds. Students who want an exemption must download the exemption form, complete it, and then upload it to the student health portal.

“Vaccines are safe, effective and the most powerful tool we have to combat – and end – the pandemic," the announcement continued. "Getting vaccinated helps protect yourself, your friends, family, coworkers, and community. Individuals who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will help the University community thrive together and thrive in person.”

The university continues to offer free COVID testing and vaccines in a new location. Those services are now available at the old University Bookstore location on East St. Mary Boulevard. No appointment is necessary to receive either service. Students who receive the vaccine may qualify for a $100 gift card through the state's "Shot for $100" campaign.

One student had a pressing question about the vaccine mandate and his fellow students' response to that mandate.

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