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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Missouri-Kansas City will require all students and staff members who work with patients in healthcare settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.

UMKC officials said the decision was made because COVID has entered a new phase due to the prevalence of the delta variant spreading more rapidly and driving higher infection rates.

The move is expected to impact between 5,000 to 6,000 people.

The requirement affects students, staff members, faculty, and volunteers at the schools of dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, nursing and health studies. Students and faculty in masters and doctoral training programs in psychology, counseling, counseling psychology and social work who are engaged in external field education and clinical practice or clinical intervention studies will also have to be vaccinated.

Those who have patient contact at the University Health Center, UMKC Counseling Center and Community Counseling Assessment Clinics will also have to be vaccinated.

Students and employees will have the opportunity to apply for medical or religious exemptions.

UMKC students, employees and visitors who are not subject to the vaccination requirement will still be required to wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status. Those who have not been vaccinated will have to wear masks at all times while on campus indoors or outdoors.