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University of St. Thomas to require COVID-19 vaccinations for fall semester

Students, faculty and staff can apply for medical or religious exemptions.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Students, faculty and staff will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to school this fall, the University of St. Thomas announced Monday. 

In a press release, the university attributed its decision to "the highly contagious delta variant spreading rapidly." However, students, faculty and staff can apply for exemptions due to "sincerely held beliefs or significant concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines or vaccination generally."

Students, faculty and staff can report their vaccination status or apply for an exemption through an online portal. 

The university already requires unvaccinated people to mask up in its buildings. Following recent CDC guidance, the university said it's recommending masks indoors for vaccinated people as well.

RELATED: The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors in these Minnesota counties

St. Thomas is a private Catholic university with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. According to the release, 78% of the university's overall campus is currently vaccinated against the virus. That includes 89% of employees and 75% of students. 

St. Thomas isn't the only Minnesota university to announce new COVID-19 rules Monday; the University of Minnesota announced that its mask requirements will go back into effect. However, the U of M isn't requiring students and staff be vaccinated against the virus. 

Other universities that have announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements include Macalester College and Carlton College. The University of Wisconsin took a different approach, announcing a set of scholarships for vaccinated students. 

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