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SAN DIEGO — The first day of classes at San Diego State University begin Monday as the school requires staff and students to be fully vaccinated.

The new policy states the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for students, faculty and staff, as well as auxiliary employees in order to access campus this fall. For SDSU, the deadline to be fully vaccinated was Aug. 16.

“I think it’s really important because, if we are all vaccinated, it slows the spread,” student Juliono Martello said. “I think that’s really important for campus life, for health.”

The California State University System stated that it is moving forward with the new COVID vaccine policy and not waiting until the vaccine’s full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“I think that it’s actually pretty good for the community here,” student Madison Cocking said. “It’s really encouraging to get everyone to do it.”

SDSU is also requiring masks for all students during indoor and outdoor classes. The university will allow students and staff to seek medical or religious exemptions, but unvaccinated students and staff who have an approved exemption will be required to be tested for COVID-19 every seven days through Sept. 30, 2021, at which point the university will re-evaluate transitioning to biweekly testing based on county conditions.

Monday is also the first day of the fall semester for 60,000 community college students in the San Diego area. They are also required to show proof of vaccination.

“It’s their choice. If you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated,” Martello said. “If you don’t trust it really, then you don’t have to or for religious reasons, but if you’re concerned at all, you know being in public spaces, it is nice knowing you’re vaccinated, just because it’s kind of like that protection.”

The policy also allows fully vaccinated teachers to remove their masks while instructing as long as students are masked. For more information on SDSU’s updated COVID policy, click here.