By Jacob Solis/The Nevada Independent

With just weeks to go before thousands of college students return to campus, the Nevada System of Higher Education announced in a legal memorandum issued late Monday that neither it nor the Board of Regents hold the legal authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students.

The memo found that such a mandate can only be instituted by the state Board of Health, a six-member board of doctors declared by state law “to be supreme in all non-administrative health matters.”

Although NSHE employees are subject to the new policy requirement for state employees to either show proof of a vaccine or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, the state’s higher education system has so far not followed the more than 600 other colleges and universities nationwide that have implemented vaccine requirements ahead of the upcoming fall semester.

The memo also stated that if the board implemented such a mandate, NSHE would be “obligated to both implement and enforce it as a binding public health and safety law, and would be required to deny admissions or exclude any NSHE student who failed to comply.”

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