The move appears to make it the first higher education governing board in the country to do so.
About 64,000 students are attending community college this semester, a drop of around 3,500 students from last fall.
These first weeks of the semester, researchers say, are prime time for outbreaks to occur on college campuses. Here's a a list of efforts state universities say they are taking to track, trace, and report COVID cases on campus.
The 9–2 vote came the same week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which many faculty and staff had hoped would open the door for the board or the universities to require the vaccine.
None of the state’s public universities are requiring students or faculty to get vaccinated despite hundreds of faculty across the state requesting they do so.
To date, no college or university in Mississippi is requiring students to receive the vaccine, though some are incentivizing it.
“This has to be a student-driven movement if it wants sustainability,” one civil-rights attorney said.
As the fall semester approaches, many faculty, staff and students at Mississippi’s public colleges and universities say silence is emblematic of how state leadership at all levels has responded to the pandemic: Prioritizing politics and the economy over public health.
As the “primary health prevention strategy” to stem transmission of the virus, the new guidelines recommend all eligible students, faculty and staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It also urges colleges and universities to direct everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, to mask-up in all indoor facilities and in crowded outdoor settings.
The insider appointments are indicative of a system of favoritism that excludes historically Black colleges and universities.