Rutgers University announces it will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19
United States: Rutgers University announces it will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19
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March 25e, Rutgers University became one of the first universities to announce that it will require that students enrolling for the 2021-2022 school year be vaccinated against COVID-19. So far, Rutgers has not extended this mandate to faculty and staff, but urges all faculty and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Rutgers announced that the vaccine requirement would not apply to students enrolled in online programs, and in-person students will be able to request a vaccine exemption for medical or religious reasons. As the fall semester of 2021 approaches, we anticipate that other schools may follow Rutgers’ lead, although some major universities, including the University of Oklahoma, have already announced that they are not. ‘would not demand the vaccine for students, faculty or staff, but strongly encouraging it.
Requiring that students be vaccinated before coming to campus is nothing new. In Connecticut, high and post-secondary schools already require that students be immunized against certain illnesses such as measles and chickenpox as a condition of enrollment. However, COVID-19 has not yet been included in mandatory vaccination schedules for students and notably remains FDA approved under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only. Although the EEOC guidelines appear to support employers who decide to force vaccines on employees, it is still unclear how a court might view a warrant related to a vaccine cleared under the FDA’s more limited EUA. . That may soon change, as there are at least two ongoing cases – one in New Mexico and one in California – in which employees have challenged their employer’s authority to require employees to be immunized based on their status. EUA status. What seems clear, however, is that even if schools impose the COVID-19 vaccine, educational institutions still need to recognize exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
Even if it is determined that it is legal to require vaccines, educational institutions should still consider whether they
should need the vaccine. Whether an institution should require the vaccine involves a number of practical considerations, such as student demographics, the availability and accessibility of vaccines to students, and whether the school is actually prepared to exclude non-students. vaccinated. Schools should also carefully review their processes for requesting and granting exemptions and ensure that they have a fair and equitable process for responding to such requests. Finally, another question that has been asked by some educational institutions is the extent to which they can take an individual’s immunization status into account when developing campus health and safety protocols. As more people are vaccinated, the CDC has just started issuing guidelines that differentiate those who are vaccinated and those who are not. However, it is important to note that to date,
OSHA advicecontinues to advise employers of do not distinguish between workers who are vaccinated and those who are not, and that mitigation measures like face masks and social distancing should remain in place for all employees, regardless of their vaccination status. These tips can be useful for schools considering their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in the future.
Federal and state guidelines continue to evolve in this area, and courts may soon rule on the legality of requiring an EUA vaccine. As schools prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, they should be aware of both the legal realities surrounding the vaccine and the practical considerations of enforcing a vaccine requirement.
Originally published April 6, 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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