West Virginia College Will Charge $750 Fee for Unvaccinated Students

A college in West Virginia will charge unvaccinated students and students who don't provide proof of vaccination a fee of $750 for the coming semester, though it has stopped short of mandating COVID-19 vaccines.

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) announced the decision in its advice for arrival on campus for the fall semester this week, and also explained that unvaccinated students, faculty and staff will have to wear masks indoors. The college is based in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

The state's drive to get residents vaccinated has recently experienced difficulties as the rate of vaccine uptake appears to have stalled. Just over 45 percent of West Virginia residents have received at least one dose, according to data compiled by the Springfield Leader.

The advisory on the college's website states: "Students, faculty, and staff who are not vaccinated must wear a mask at all times indoors and maintain a social distance.

"Students who do not submit a proof of vaccination or who are not vaccinated will be charged a non-refundable $750 Covid fee for the Fall 2021 semester," the college said.

"The fee will be charged to all students who have not provided a proof of vaccination (full vaccination or first shot toward vaccination) by September 7."

WVWC went on to explain that the fee will cover testing for COVID that unvaccinated students will have to undergo while attending the college.

"Students who do not submit a proof of vaccination status or who are not vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly surveillance testing," they said.

"This testing will be conducted by WVWC officials. The cost will be covered by the Covid Fee charged to all unvaccinated students."

Any students who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus will be permitted to self-isolate in "contained housing" on campus for a period of 48 hours but will then have to make alternative arrangements or pay a further fee.

"Following that time period, students will be responsible for housing arrangements off campus until they receive clearance by a medical professional to return to campus," the college said.

"Students who are unable to return home or make other arrangements may complete the remainder of their quarantine on campus for a $250 fee."

WVWC said the college is "not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine at this time" but would review that decision once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are currently being used under emergency use status.

Dr. James Moore, dean of WVWC, told WDTV: "The fee is going to be used to cover the expenses that will come with increased testing and other resources that the college will have to utilize and deploy to keep every student safe."

Newsweek has asked West Virginia Wesleyan College for comment.

People Wait to Get Vaccinated in Missouri
People wait to get vaccinated for Covid-19 at a baseball game on August 5, 2021 in Springfield, Missouri. A college in West Virginia will charge unvaccinated students a non-refundable $750 fee. Spencer Platt/Getty Images