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The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced Tuesday that a mandatory vaccination policy will be in place for student-athletes competing in the conference beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

Pursuant to this policy, all SIAC student-athletes, athletic related staff, coaches, officials and auxiliary groups (e.g., coaches, officials, marching bands, dance and cheer) participating in SIAC-sponsored sports are required to be fully vaccinated with a CDC-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with CDC guidelines. Albany State is a member of the SIAC.

“Within the context of rising COVID-19 infection rates, student-athletes are a particularly vulnerable stakeholder group who, as a result of their athletic participation, are required to travel off-campus and compete against and interact with student-athletes on other campuses," SIAC commissioner Gregory Moore said. "These athletic related activities not only increase the risk of exposure to our student-athletes, but also increase the risk of exposure to their classmates and other campus stakeholders once those athletes return to campus. The SIAC policy decision establishing vaccination as prerequisite to intercollegiate athletic competition participation is guided by the overarching interest to protect the health and safety of SIAC student-athletes, and was decided in the light of overwhelming data and evidence which has demonstrated the effectiveness of authorized COVID-19 vaccines combating coronavirus as well as its delta variant.”

A student-athlete may be exempted from the vaccine requirement if they have received a campus-approved exemption for medical or religious reasons. This exemption will not excuse the student-athlete from COVID testing per guidelines established by local and county health officials as well as any additional campus requirements.

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