As COVID-19 cases rise on public college campuses, the final countdown is on for Nevada higher education students to get vaccinated.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- As the state attempts to tweak its health and safety expectations of all higher education employees, deadlines are approaching for vaccine mandates on public college campuses across Nevada.

Nov. 1 is the first day students can register for the spring semester. In order to register for spring classes on that date, students need to be vaccinated by that date.

"I was hesitant to get vaxxed," one UNLV student said. "But the faster we get this done, the faster everything gets back to normal."

Getting things back to normal on Nevada's college campuses is also the goal of regents like Jason Geddes, who represents District 11 in the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Geddes said, ideally, they will "have a fully active campus, and depending on where we are, they can stop wearing the masks, they can start having their social functions more."

By requiring students are vaccinated when they enroll for spring classes, he said he hopes the remote learning experience can be a thing of the past, for the most part.

"It's bringing back the college experience that most students signed up for. Most students didn't sign up for online learning," said Geddes.

For students interested in receiving Moderna, they will need to get their first shot by next Monday, Oct. 4, to be able to register for spring classes when they open on Nov. 1.

FOX5 spoke with UNLV students on Monday about the vaccine mandate, and they expressed mixed emotions.

"I don't know if I'm going to comply or not," said one student. "To force somebody to do it in order to go to college, I think it's despicable personally."

"It kind of took me by surprise," said another student. "But I am a public health major, so honestly I am for the mandate."

He added, "Amongst my friend group, there's a bit of a mixed opinions. We're kind of like, 'Oh, really? UNLV did that? I'm not so sure.' Some others might even like transfer to another school."

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Another student, a senior on campus, was just happy to be back in person.

"Personally, I have no problems with it. I'm fully vaccinated," he said. "Getting the full experience, if you're not vaccinated, you won't be able to do some of the stuff on campus."

The state reported 160 COVID-19 cases since the school year started on southern Nevada college campuses in mid-August; campuses including UNLV, College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College, and the Desert Research Institute.

As COVID-19 cases rise on public college campuses, the final countdown is on for Nevada higher education students to get vaccinated.

Still, NSHE wants to contain that number even more by requiring vaccines with rare exceptions, including medical and religious exemptions, and completely online learners.

"Students who are only online don't have to have the requirement," said Geddes.

The same goes for employees, according to the regents' proposed employee vaccine mandate, which is set to be voted on by the board on Thursday, Sept. 30.

"If you don't work on campus, if you're 100% a remote worker, then you don't have to have the requirement," said Geddes. "But, you can't use the fact that you don't want to get vaccinated to become a 100% remote professional employee."

Aside restoring normalcy, Geddes said the vaccine mandates are their attempt at saving lives.

"It will be steps toward termination if you're not vaccinated by December 1," Geddes said of the employee mandate.

The Regents' proposal is to alert employees on Oct. 15, warn noncomplying employees again Nov. 1, and that they will face the possibility of termination Dec. 1.

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