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Colleges grapple with policy changes following Pfizer's FDA approval

Jarvis Christian College is considering mandating vaccinations.

HAWKINS, Texas — Monday is the first day of school at Jarvis Christian College — one of three historically Black colleges in East Texas. Jarvis has a mask mandate in place but not a vaccine mandate. President Lester Newman said that could change. 

“We have what we call a COVID-19 taskforce in place and they’re constantly reviewing whatever policies and procedures that are coming out, so I'm certain that they will be looking at for that and probably making some decisions very soon," Newman said.

Newman also said there are a lot of things to consider first, such as how a vaccine mandate will affect enrollment and staff availability.

As a nudge in the vaccinated direction, the college is offering cash incentives to students and faculty who get their shots. Jarvis has also held multiple vaccine clinics open to the public.

“As the Delta variant continues to grow, more and more people now are rethinking their positions. We see more of them getting vaccinated at this point so we hope that will continue to grow," Newman said.

Those on campus have to prove their vaccination status. Anyone who isn't vaccinated will need to be tested weekly. That brings the possibility for people to submit fake documents. 

Newman said, “Unfortunately, the cards are not very distinguishable. So you just really don't know and you have to trust and to the extent that you can, you verify.”

He said he hopes with the school's current mask mandate, rigorous testing schedule and isolation zones if and when anyone does get the virus, they can stay ahead of the curve.

Moderna and J&J vaccines are still awaiting full FDA approval.

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