LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) –New Mexico State University announced Wednesday it will end its requirement that all employees and students become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment or enrollment.

As KTSM previously reported, the requirement has been in place since January 2022 for employees and was extended to in-person students in July 2022.

 In a memo to the NMSU community Wednesday, Chancellor Dan Arvizu said that while the vaccine requirement had served the university community well during its time, the declining efficacy of the primary series against current variants was a factor in the decision.

“The effectiveness of the primary series on its own waned significantly in the last year due to the evolution of new viral variants. We strongly encourage everyone to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 boosters, which are effective in reducing the severity of the disease, but our requirement of the primary series of vaccines as a condition of employment or enrollment in the NMSU system is no longer suitable.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu

In addition, the university system will no longer require employees and students to report positive cases through its online portal system – though campus resident students are still expected to report positive cases to residence life staff.

Arvizu’s announcement outlined the key changes to NMSU system policies and procedures:

  • Individuals with a hire date of March 1, 2023, or later are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption.
  • Students enrolling in classes beginning in the Summer 2023 session or later are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption.
  • Students and employees are no longer required to report their positive COVID-19 cases through the online portal.
  • Students living on campus should continue to report positive COVID-19 test results to residence life staff.
  • Students living in campus residence halls will no longer be required to move to an isolation room following a positive test – however voluntarily moving to an isolation room is still an option for students who wish to do so, and isolation units will remain available if not already occupied. Otherwise, residence hall occupants should isolate in place, consistent with current CDC guidelines.
  • Students living in apartments and houses should still isolate in place, consistent with current CDC guidelines.
  • Decisions by members of the campus community about returning to class or work following a COVID-19 infection should follow current CDC guidelines.
  • Masks are welcomed and encouraged for those who need or choose to wear them on campuses or sites.
  • Health care or other specialized settings such as clinical education environments may have stricter requirements for vaccination or mask-wearing, which may apply to students or employees in those settings.