More colleges are announcing that that they will require students to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend in the fall.
Sounds to me like a complete overstep and students should either stick with online classes or get an exemption form filled out ASAP.
According to NPR, Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first establishment to require vaccination for all students who want to attend fall 2021 classes on campus. Most recently Duke University in North Carolina announced a similar policy, joining the ranks of the University of Notre Dame, Brown, and Cornell universities, and Northeastern University in Massachusetts.
“Vaccinations are an important tool for making the fall semester safe,” said Rutgers University executive Vice President and chief operating officer Antonio Calcado. “We felt that simply encouraging would not have the same effect as a requirement.”
During the pandemic, many colleges, especially residential campuses, were challenged by the virus as students attended parties off campus and brought the disease back into their dorms. While young people have less COVID-19 risk, their return to campuses last fall spiked a deadly number of coronavirus infections not only on campuses, but also in the communities surrounding the colleges, said The New York Times. Deaths in communities that are home to colleges rose faster than the rest of the nation.
“This is not new,” Calcado continued. “We have a whole portal for uploading your vaccine history and all those types of things. So that’s already in place.”
“Most universities have the power to require vaccines,” added law professor Dorit Reiss, at the UC Hastings College of the Law. “But it does depend on what the college can do generally on vaccines and what they’ve done in the past.”
“There almost certainly are going to be legal challenges because the anti-vaccine movement is already preparing them,’ Reiss continued. “The main arguments will include the EUA question and the fact that these vaccines are early in use.”
Official FDA approval for the CVOID-19 vaccines could come by the summer. And Reiss added that many colleges may also offer medical and religious exemptions for students. The American Council on Education issued a brief that said even though the vaccines are being offered under the FDA’s EUA, “the legal right of institutions to require COVID-19 vaccination for students seems likely to be upheld as vaccine availability increases.”
Whether or not colleges will mandate vaccinations, Reiss says that most will still require “soft mandates,” such as wearing masks, frequent coronavirus testing and social distancing.
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