State Center Community College District staff now required to be fully vaccinated

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Employees, contractors, and visitors must now show proof they've been fully vaccinated to be on State Center Community College District campuses. That includes Fresno City, Reedley, Clovis Community and Madera Community colleges.

The district has nearly 3,000 employees. As of Friday, 131 have been granted a religious or medical exemption and 65 more have requested one. About 50 still need their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I think it's the best thing that the district can do to keep everyone safe at this moment," says FCC student Deven Benavides. "The inconvenience is inconsequential when you weigh it against the reward of having a healthy staff and making everyone feel safe on campus."

Those with an approved medical or religious exemption are required to get tested twice a week.

District leaders say there will be free testing on campus.

Several campuses have also partnered with local organizations to host on-site vaccine clinics.

"I think I've been less concerned about getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 since the beginning, but it made me much more comfortable knowing that the older people that I know and the people with preexisting conditions that would be at risk are safer because of the vaccine," Benavides said.

The vaccination mandate deadline for students has been extended to November 15.

This allows students who don't get vaccinated to complete 60 percent of the semester and avoid financial aid penalties for being dropped or disenrolled from classes.

"I trust in the vaccines, they've worked for me throughout my life," says FCC student Essai Martinez. "I hardly get sick. So if somebody else isn't vaccinated, I wouldn't really care, personally, but I could see it having a sense of security for somebody else."
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