NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Salve Regina University is the latest college in Rhode Island to announce that it will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus next fall.

The Catholic school in Newport announced Tuesday that all students, faculty and staff will be required to submit proof of vaccination to the school no later than Aug. 1.

Salve Regina joins Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, and several other schools in the state that will require students to be vaccinated before participating in on-campus classes and activities in the fall.

“We did not arrive at this decision lightly," the school posted on its website. "In reviewing the American College Health Association and CDC recommendations for higher education institutions and in discussion with state health officials, it became clear that this additional safeguard was required to more fully protect our Salve Regina community and those with whom our members interact."

People with valid medical or religious reasons for not receiving the vaccine may request an exemption, the school said.

Salve Regina has about 2,700 students.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA

Rhode Island public health officials reported almost 50 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three more virus-related deaths Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 35 were recorded Tuesday, when the daily positivity rate was 0.5%, and the rest were added to previous days' totals, according to the state Department of Health.

The total number of fatalities in the state is now 2,722.

Forty-four people remain hospitalized with COVID-19, but only five of those patients are in intensive care.

The number of people who have now been fully vaccinated in the state has surpassed 580,000, which amounts to about 55% of the state's population.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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