The University of Lynchburg and Randolph College on Thursday announced they will require their students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester.
UL also will require the vaccine for faculty and staff.
In a message to the campus community, Randolph College President Bradley Bateman said, "We believe vaccinations are key to keeping our community safe, healthy, and in person. In a residential setting such as ours, broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our College community."
At this time, the message said, Randolph College is not requiring employees to receive the vaccination, but is encouraging those individuals to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Students with religious or medical exemptions will not be required to receive the vaccine, he said, but will be subject to mandatory, weekly COVID-19 testing during the academic year.
The University of Lynchburg announced Thursday that with its vaccine requirement, many of its COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted.
In a campus-wide email, University of Lynchburg President Alison Morrison-Shetlar said the university will “return to the residential experience that is at the core of the Lynchburg experience.”
According to an announcement on the university's website, all students, faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are religiously or medically exempt.
Students will be required to submit proof of vaccination before returning to campus for the fall term, and faculty will submit proof to human resources, the announcement said.
The university also will lift many of its COVID-19 mitigation measures in the fall.
Masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals indoors or outdoors, physical distancing no longer will be required on campus and there will be no limits on the size of gatherings.
Morrison-Shetlar said the university hopes to offer a "near-normal fall semester" complete with clubs, sports and performances happening in person and without restriction.
The University of Lynchburg and Randolph College are the only Lynchburg-area higher education institutions to announce plans to require its students to be vaccinated. All Lynchburg-area colleges and universities are encouraging their communities to receive the vaccine.