U of U, USU and Weber State to impose vaccine requirement
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University will impose a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on students.
In an email to students, faculty and staff, U’s senior management announced the requirement. FOX 13 first reported earlier Friday that the university was planning to impose one, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.
“The University of Utah intends to continue to require COVID-19 vaccination for its students. We appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with state leaders as rates of infection and hospitalizations are increasing throughout Utah, ”the email said.
“Our expectation is to share detailed plans on the requirement – and the process for applying for an exemption based on health conditions, religious or personal beliefs – with students early next week. Conversations with leaders State continue on a possible vaccine requirement for faculty and staff Conversations also continue regarding vaccine requirements for the University of Utah Health, including hospital and clinic employees . “
University of Utah to impose vaccine requirement
The email was signed by US President Taylor Randall; the director general of university health, Michael Good; Dan Reed, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Lori McDonald, Vice President of Student Affairs; and Christina Porucznik, President of the Academic Senate.
Monday, FOX 13 reported that senior U of U officials are meeting with Governor Spencer Cox and legislative leaders to discuss a vaccine requirement now that the FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
The House majority caucus met behind closed doors on Thursday. In a subsequent interview with FOX 13, President Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said the law allows universities to require vaccination – as long as they understand that Utah law also allows broad exemptions for religious, medical or personal reasons.
“Now that the FDA has approved the vaccine, or at least the Pfizer vaccine, they could choose to do so,” President Wilson said.
Pressure is mounting, especially on the University of Utah, for a vaccination mandate. Over 1,000 people signed the online petition asking the university to implement a mandate. The petition was organized by Unsafe U, an advocacy group focused on campus safety.
Utah State University told FOX 13 that it plans to issue a vaccine requirement for its main campus in Logan and its satellite campuses across the state, including Roosevelt, Moab, Price, Brigham City, Tremonton and Blanding. Including Logan, USU has 29 centers and campuses across Utah.
“It would be to have the students vaccinated in the spring semester, but we will require the students to be vaccinated in the fall,” said Amanda DeRito, spokesperson for the university administration.
The USU was planning to have an immunization clinic starting next week to ensure students have the opportunity to get their doses.
“We know students really want to be face to face, they want to enjoy the campus they want to be with their friends and all the things that define an Aggie experience. And it really depends on their vaccination,” DeRito said.
In a letter to all colleges and universities in Utah on Friday, the Utah Council on Higher Education appeared to give its blessing to vaccination warrants. Under Utah law, they cannot impose a mask warrant on any of Utah’s colleges and universities.
“The council views vaccinations as an effective method to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our campuses open. As you assess the needs of your campus and region, we encourage you to consider requiring COVID-19 vaccinations – free of charge – for your students, ”wrote board chair Harris Simmons.
“Expanding COVID-19 vaccinations among university populations will allow us to keep campuses open for in-person teaching, provide a safer environment for the campus community, and ensure that our state’s economy remains open and dynamic in the coming months. “
On Friday evening, Weber State University confirmed it would impose a vaccine requirement.
“Weber State will be working on a vaccination requirement to be implemented this fall that will require students to be vaccinated before the spring semester,” WSU said in a statement to FOX 13. “As a USHE institution, we want to do this. our part in helping the state fight rising infection and hospitalization rates. Details on the requirement – and the process – will be shared with students, staff and faculty next week. “
Other colleges and universities have yet to decide what to do. Utah Valley University President Astrid Tuminez expressed concern at the regular Utah Council on Higher Education meeting about the increase in COVID-19 cases.
“It’s just a matter of time. It’s just a matter of whether we hit those triggers, where we have to close classrooms and close buildings,” she said.