LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A vaccine mandate for higher education employees remains in effect after a motion failed by the Nevada System of Higher Education.
On Thursday, the Board of Regents held a special meeting regarding a COVID-19 mandate for NSHE employees. On Sept. 30 the board passed an employee vaccination deadline. NSHE employees who are not vaccinated or do not have an approved exemption will be terminated effective on Dec. 31.
The special meeting comes after the state's Legislative Commission last week declined to authorize a vaccine mandate for the thousands of students within the higher education system.
On Thursday night the board considered three options. The first was to maintain the vaccination mandate as written, the second is to push the effective termination date from tomorrow to Jan. 15. The board has a meeting on the 14th so it would allow them to revisit the policy. The third option was to eliminate the mandate and revoke notices of termination.
Ahead of the special meeting the board received 400 written public comments, unanimous letter maintaining the existing employee mandate signed by each of the eight institutional presidents and a petition from NSHE faculty in support of maintaining the existing policy.
During the special meeting the board heard over two hours of public comment. COVID-19 NSHE task force experts followed including Dr. Brian Labus and Vice Chancellor Workforce Development.
“We can’t control the community, but we can control what happens on our campuses," Dr. Labus said.
He said every time you see a mutation it spreads more easily.
“Even though a less severe virus is still dangerous and there’s no way to know the next mutation doesn’t bring us right back to where we were in terms of hospitalizations and death," Dr. Labus said.
NSHE Regent Dr. Jason Geddes made a motion to maintain the existing vaccine policy. The motion failed in a tied vote by the board which ultimately means the policy remains in effect.
"Those decisions should be with them, and the privacy of those decisions should be with them, and I don’t feel comfortable as part of a governing board to create a policy and tell someone what they have to do," Dr. Byron Brooks said.
In a statement following the meeting the board said out of the more than 22,240 employees, 379 will be terminated Friday, Dec. 31.