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As new school year approaches, Johnson C. Smith University lays out COVID-19 rules on campus

All students and teachers were required to get vaccinated ahead of the new semester. There's also a mask mandate on campus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first time in 18 months, students are stepping back onto campus at Johnson C. Smith University amid the pandemic.

“Students, faculty, and staff are all excited to see the campus re-open," said Ashley Bellinger, the current Miss JCSU.

Keeping students safe from COVID-19 is among one of the main priorities the school is tackling. Already, the university has put into motion a handful of safety measures.

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“We’ve been checking them into campus making sure their COVID testing has been negative or that have been vaccinated," said Dr. Karen D. Morgan, JCSU's Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.

For JCSU’s 2021-22 school year, masks are also mandatory on campus except in private living areas for students and in offices for faculty and staff. COVID-19 vaccines are also mandatory for everyone unless proper exemptions for medical or religious reasons have been granted.

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JCSU leaders are enforcing these changes in hopes to avoid a large spread of the virus that could self-isolate or quarantine students and staff. The school is also trying out a type of A/B learning schedule.

“We are working on a 'gold/blue' model, where half of the students will be in classroom spaces while the other half will be engaged at the same time from a virtual location, and then we will alternate that pattern on a week-by-week basis," Dr. Morgan said.

With all of the changes to keep students safe, alumni like Bellinger are encouraging students to stay focused.

“Although you came to school to also socialize, please remember your academics are first and foremost so you can leave here with your degree," she said.

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Contact Ruby Durham at rdurham@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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