SIU-C announced vaccination incentive program

Editor’s Note: This story was featured in the August 11 print edition, and may not represent the most up-to-date about COVID-19 regulations

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU-C) will be implementing a vaccination incentive program, including five dollar Starbucks gift cards, and a raffle for other prizes. 

The program, titled “Protect the Pack” was announced via email by Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jennifer Jones-Hall.

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The program followed a survey conducted by the Graduate Professional and Student Council (GPSC), which included 847 responses from SIU-C attendees, showed 52 percent of respondents think vaccines should be required for the 2021-2022 school year. 

SIU-C will not be requiring vaccinations for in-person attendees, despite the slim majority of responses in favor. 

Bart Hagston, the administrator for Jackson County Public Health (JCPH), said, “the SIU guidance is in line with the [Centers for Disease Control], and… it is consistent with the majority of universities in Illinois.”

Hagston said JCPH has been working with the university to make vaccines easy to get and readily available, including free-without-insurance shots at the JCPH office Monday through Friday.

The Banterra Center has also been used as a free vaccination site since May.

Kim Renfeld, the executive director of university communications and writing, said SIU has been encouraging vaccinations of students since March. 

Renfeld said, at time of publishing, masks will not be required for vaccinated students, except in some special circumstances like on public transit and in medical facilities, but changes to the mask and vaccination policy could be made as circumstances change. 

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Some local districts in California and Nevada have already reinstated indoor mask policies, according to CNBC.

“Our concerns for public health going into this school year are less than this point last year,” Hagston said. “Things we are concerned about, though, are the increased number of students , and the number of variants including the delta variant.”

Students and staff will be expected to follow health guidelines on individual responsibility, or honors systems, and anyone found to be in violation of health rules could be subject to disciplinary action either through the student code of conduct or their supervisors, respectively, Renfeld said.

SIU Student Health Services will be hosting free vaccinations during move-in weekend, August 12 through 14 from 11AM to 3PM. JCPH accepts walk-ins Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 3:30PM. 

Staff reporter Jason Flynn can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 872-222-7821 or on Twitter at @dejasonflynn. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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