UPDATE (Sept. 30) -- The Board of Regents on Thursday approved an emergency policy change that requires each NSHE employee to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.
"Basically we're saying every employee has to be vaccinated by December 1, unless they have a medical or religious exemption," said Regent of District 11 Jason Geddes.
The board voted 10 to three to pass the mandate after more than two hours of public testimony and comment.
Making up the three "no" votes were Clark County Regents Patrick Boylan, Byron Brooks and Lois Tarkanian.
After scheduled warnings, by December, employees at Nevada's public colleges and universities, such as UNLV and College of Southern Nevada, will need to get the immunization to avoid being fired.
"If you're not vaccinated by December 1, for all the professional employees, we start termination procedures," he said. "Ideally, this thing will diminish greatly and the students can be on campus."
Original story continues below.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- More than 18,000 or 75% of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s 23,883 employees are now vaccinated for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccination rate for NSHE’s employees has grown nearly 35% since rates were first reported last week.
Six of NSHE’s eight campuses are reporting that more than 70% of employees are vaccinated. The other two campuses are at 65% and higher.
Among all NSHE employees, which includes academic and administrative faculty, classified staff, graduate assistants, student workers, and others from all eight institutions, system administration, and system computing services, the vaccination rate rose to 75.6%, from the previous week’s rate of 56.1%.
There were multiple reasons for the percentage growth, not only more employees getting vaccinated, but the state database, Web-IZ was updated by NSHE and its institutions. Volunteers and independent contractors were also taken out of the total number of NSHE employees, since they are not directly paid by NSHE.
The vaccination rate growth follows the unanimous decision by the Board of Regents to authorize NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose to develop a COVID-19 vaccine policy for all NSHE employees.
Once the chancellor and her team formulates the policy, which will include gathering the thoughts and ideas of NSHE stakeholders, it will be presented to the Board of Regents at a special meeting set for Sept. 30 to discuss and possibly act on the proposed policy.