Students and faculty gathered in the Campus Commons on Oct. 28 for the Chancellor’s town hall. (Allie Brown/TCU 360)
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If vaccination rates increase at TCU, campus may see changes in COVID-19 regulations.

Although Chancellor Victor Boschini said he would never give an answer of certainty regarding anything related to COVID-19, he said he would answer questions to the best of his ability at a town hall meeting on Oct. 28.

Honors faculty encouraged a vaccine mandate at TCU in early October, but Boschini said he didn’t think a vaccine mandate would happen.

A vaccine mandate is easy to recommend but difficult to enforce, Boschini said. If a vaccine mandate were to happen, administration would come up with the mandate, sanction it and enclose it. Once the mandate has been put in place, every person on campus must be verified as vaccinated. This would consume a lot of time that could be used to do something else, such as meeting with a student, Boschini said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has banned vaccine mandates but President Joe Biden has ordered a vaccine mandate, so it’s unclear who to listen to on this matter, Boschini said.

Other Texas universities, such as Baylor and Rice, have implemented vaccine and testing regulations for students and faculty this year.

Baylor University doesn’t have a vaccine mandate, but a COVID-19 test is required once per week for everyone who is not fully vaccinated.

Rice University doesn’t require COVID-19 vaccination either, but everyone who is not fully vaccinated must get a COVID-19 test twice every week.

TCU has held steady at about five active COVID-19 cases recently, so the steps TCU has taken to keep campus safe seem to be working, Boschini said.

COVID-19 cases at TCU flattened out around the same time last year, but the campus saw another spike in cases in November.

A lot of students have COVID-19 and don’t want to report it because they think it’s nobody else’s business, Boschini said.

Increased immunity ensures a lower number of cases.

The ultimate goal is for student, faculty and staff vaccination rates to surpass 69%, Boschini said. Student numbers need to grow by about 20% in order to reach TCU’s vaccination goal.

In an effort to keep COVID-19 cases to a minimum and increase vaccination rates among students, TCU has implemented an incentive program for students who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Weekly and monthly prizes are randomly awarded to students who have been vaccinated. Everyone who has reported their vaccination is eligible to win, regardless of when they were vaccinated. Monthly prizes include $5,000 tuition credit, a reserved parking pass for a year, $1,000 Campus Cash, and more. Weekly prizes include $50 Campus Cash and $25 gift cards to Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and the TCU Bookstore. For more information, visit https://studentaffairs.tcu.edu/purple-prizes/.

Once we have a larger percentage of vaccinated students, it is likely that masks wouldn’t be required, Boschini said.

An increased number of night classes and Friday classes exist this year in order to better socially distance. If over 69% of students, faculty and staff have been vaccinated, Boschini said he would like to return to the traditional schedule.

As decisions are being made about TCU’s future, it’s important for leadership to have accurate information about students and faculty. If you have received a positive test result for COVID-19, you can self-report it by calling 817-257-2684. If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, you can report it at https://www.tcu.edu/protect-the-purple/vaccination-information.php.

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