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About 3/4 of UA employees have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination

About three-fourths of University of Arizona employees have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination, an increase from October, the University of Arizona announced during a Monday press conference. 

Last month, Arizona public universities including UA announced they would require employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an medical or religious exemption in compliance with a federal mandate. 

So far, about 75.5% of the Tucson-based university's nearly 16,000 employees, including student workers, have submitted proof of vaccination. That’s higher than the employees' vaccination rate of 51%, from about a month ago. There will be consequences for individuals who choose to forgo vaccinations and an accommodation. 

"We are not going to be able to allow those individuals to continue to work if they don’t go through the process," said UA President Robert Robbins. 

The deadline for employees to submit proof of vaccination or request an accommodation has been extended to January 18th, giving them an extra month to get into compliance. 

Robbins also used Monday's press conference to acknowledge the rising rates of COVID cases across the state. Despite that, Robbins said the university doesn't anticipate starting the spring semester with virtual instruction. That decision is in part based on the university still being able to isolate students and take them to the hospital as needed. 

“We’ll obviously start back or planning to start back in face to face mode in January, but we’ll keep an eye on things and if things don’t go the right way early in the next semester we’ll always have the option to go back to a more virtual delivery," he said. 

The university will continue monitoring the situation through waste water testing and other methods, he added.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct the percentage of UA employees who have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.