Resident assistants and community assistants at the University of Nevada, Reno started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine last week, Executive Director of Residential Life, Housing and Food Services Dean Kennedy confirmed Tuesday.

“With the support of President Sandoval and Vice President Ellis, we were able to include our RA and CA team within the list of university employees designated by the State of Nevada as “Tier 2 Frontline NSHE Employees.”” Kennedy said in an email. “This is due to the nature of their positions as staff members living with students and responsible for safety, security, and educational efforts within their communities.”

Under the vaccine distribution plan released by the Nevada System of Higher Education, Tier 2 includes employees that work face-to-face with others on campus. Those in the Tier 1 category included frontline healthcare staff and university police officers. 

Kennedy said the names of 78 student employees were shared with university officials to be considered as part of Tier 2, but the number who have chosen to receive the vaccine hasn’t been tracked. 

Receiving the vaccine is optional, and employees that opt out of receiving it will not face consequences, Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis said. 

According to the university COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 11 active student cases and 6 active faculty/staff cases.

Taylor Avery can be reached at or on Twitter at @travery98.