MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two central Minnesota schools have announced they will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty and staff before they return to campus later this month.

The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University said students returning for fall semester will need at least one vaccine dose by Aug. 26.

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Students and staff can submit their vaccination records or apply for an exemption online.

“This decision is driven by our desire to provide a safe, on-campus experience for our students and employees this fall and gives us the best chance for in-person classes, athletic events, community living and all the benefits our community has to offer,” the schools said in a statement.

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Earlier this week, the University of St. Thomas announced it, too, would mandate vaccines for students, faculty and staff returning in-person.

The University of Minnesota said it will require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, but has said previously it will not require vaccinations.

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The latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state has had 615,923 positive COVID-19 cases and 7,683 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. About 69.1% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.