Hickory – In an effort to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the Lenoir-Rhyne campus and the broader community, LR will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all faculty, staff and students beginning with the fall 2021 semester. Lenoir-Rhyne is joining more than 500 colleges and universities nationwide in requiring the vaccine.

Dr. Fred Whitt, president, announced the decision to the campus community on Friday afternoon after consulting with the COVID-19 taskforce, university leadership, the executive committee of the board of trustees and local and public health officials.

“We know that our students are eager to return to the full LR experience with in-person classes and robust social opportunities,” said Whitt. “Requiring the COVID-19 vaccine will ensure that our campus can return to full in-person classes, events and gatherings without physical distancing, masks, weekly testing and quarantine after exposure. Our students come from many different areas of the United States and other countries, and we want to do our part as a campus community to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our LR community and the broader community.”

The vaccine process should be completed no later than August 16. Completing the process means that two weeks must have passed from receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks from the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The university will consider requests for exemption based on either documented medical reasons or adherence to sincerely held bona fide religious beliefs. More than 1,000 members of the LR community, including faculty, staff and students, were vaccinated in the spring 2021 semester.

Classes for the fall semester begin August 23.