ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Following Governor Pritzker's statewide mask mandates and vaccine requirements for Illinois teachers and students, Augustana College reiterated full support on Friday.
"Thankfully, the governor's announcement of yesterday aligns well with [our] previously announced plans," Augustana President Steven Bahls said.
All students and staff will be required to receive a vaccine by September 5. If anyone is unable or unwilling to become vaccinated by that date, they will be subject to COVID-19 testing once per week.
"Augustana leaders are specifically making plans to fully comply as we are required by law with the state Illinois mandates and we will share the details in the days ahead," Bahls said.
Bahls added the school is considering how the school can offer affordable and convenient testing options for those unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine.
Monday's FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is something Bahls believes can lead to more Augustana students and staff to receive a vaccination if they have not already.
"We are glad that is lifted to pave the way for many, many more people at Augustana to be vaccinated," said Bahls.
Information on how students and staff can submit their vaccination status can be found on the Augustana website.
Bahls anticipates the number of incomplete student vaccination forms will go down "substantially" in the next few days as sophomores, juniors, and seniors return to campus. Freshmen arrived for move-in on Thursday.
"We need to know everyone's vaccine status so we can arrange and communicate the next steps and keep the spread of the virus on our campus very low," Bahls said. "I feel compelled to remind everyone who is unvaccinated to get vaccinated, now is the time."
Bahls believes the combination of vaccines and masks will allow Augustana to continue a wide variety of activities including in-person classes, athletics, arts, and other extra and co curricular activities.
Watch the entire announcement here: