93% students, faculty vaccinated

Students attending in-person classes this semester were required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.


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A clinician uses a syringe to inject a COVD-19 vaccine into a patient.

DeKALB — Students and staff were required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or file an exemption for medical or religious purposes before Jan. 7. Students who did not submit a picture of their vaccine card were dropped from their in-person classes for the spring semester. 

Students are still enrolling in classes, which continues to impact the data, ​​NIU Chief of Staff Matt Streb said. In order to meet the criteria to join classes, students must upload their vaccine cards through the MyNIU Student System or have an approved exemption. 

“Our vaccine rate on campus is 93% and change, so that faculty staff students are almost exactly the same,” Streb said. “Now, there’s a, you know, a couple of tenths of a percentage point difference between them. But, you know, we’re at 93%.”

6.7% of students and faculty and staff have received a medical or religious exemption, Streb said. 

“Remember this (vaccine requirement) is only for in-person classes so there may be people that didn’t want to be vaccinated, didn’t qualify for an exemption and they may just be taking all online classes too,” Streb said. 

NIU will not know how many students had to be dropped from classes until the 10-day enrollment numbers come out. 

Streb said NIU does not have the intention to require the booster vaccine at this time. 

NIU announced that surveillance testing has been expanded to individuals that are vaccinated. 

“We started to really see a significant number of breakthrough cases and so that was the reason why we are putting vaccinated people in the surveillance pool,” Streb said. “Remember the purpose of surveillance testing is to allow us to get a sense of what the viral load is on campus. Because we now have more breakthrough cases, it’s really important that we have a sense of vaccinated people, even boosted people are now in that pool.”

The DeKalb community also tests through wastewater surveillance. Streb said that when wastewater goes up, they see COVID cases go up. NIU is working to be able to track specific locations, such as residence halls. 

Teachers and professors have the choice to keep their classes online if the positivity rate reported on the NIU COVID-19 Dashboard goes above 8%. 

“We will look at the 8% number,” Streb said. “If it’s above 8%, faculty and instructors will have the option, they don’t have to, I want to be really clear about that option to go online. If it’s below 8% classes will continue as usual.” 

NIU’s current positivity rate is at 8.25%, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard. 

Streb is proud of the community for how many individuals have gotten vaccinated and how students have handled the pandemic these last two years and encourages students to still get involved and make connections. 

“If you’re struggling, reach out for help if you’re having challenges; it could be academically, it could be emotionally, it could be a variety of different things,” Streb said.