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Johnson C. Smith University Joins White House COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge for Higher Education

Photo from JCSU's Vaccine Clinic

Charlotte, N.C. / June 10, 2021 - Johnson C. Smith University continues to be a leader in the fight against COVID-19. The University is one of the first Charlotte-area institutions to join the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge.

“This reinforces the mission of Johnson C. Smith University. We are here to educate, and have been doing that for 150 plus years, but we also have a responsibility to service the community,” said Dr. Davida Haywood, vice president of Student Affairs, who commissioned the university for this partnership. “Not just the JCSU community, but the wider community, particularly the Historic West End,” Haywood stated.  

The White House has commissioned a challenge to colleges and universities in the United States to encourage faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated.

Participating colleges are asked to follow three key commitments: Engage every student, faculty, and staff member; lead the way by identifying champions for vaccine efforts across campus and implementing a plan to get as many members of your college community vaccinated as possible; and lastly, deliver vaccine access for all.

Haywood said the University has done all three and will continue efforts to get people vaccinated. In May 2021, JCSU announced it is requiring vaccinations for students, faculty and staff in an effort to keep the campus community safe. 

In addition, the University partnered with Atrium Health. The two organizations teamed up in September 2020 to distribute more than 35,000 masks to the Historic West End community, partnered to present the virtual town hall “Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy In Our Communities” on March 10, 2021, and held a vaccination clinic on the campus of JCSU March 13-14, 2021, where more than 6,200 educators and community members received COVID-19 vaccinations.

She added that the University is still having conversations with community members about the importance of getting vaccinated, which is key in communities of color that have been hardest hit by this virus. Atrium Health also provides regular mitigation testing to staff at the University to ensure the campus remains safe.

Haywood hopes JCSU’s efforts encourage other institutions, especially HBCUs to join.

“I just hope that people continue to support our efforts and that we that we continue to be the standard bearer for others,” she added.

For a full list of participating colleges click here.

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