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UC lifts COVID-19 vaccine requirement, joins small list of U.S. colleges ending mandates

UC dropping vaccine mandate
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 3:01 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - The University of Cincinnati is dropping its COVID-19 vaccine mandate this summer, officials announced Thursday.

The university’s mask requirement was lifted last month.

Few other universities across the country have reversed their COVID-19 vaccine requirements, which were largely implemented in the fall of 2021. At many schools, UC included, spring class registration was contingent upon getting the vaccine.

But last month the University of Hawaii indefinitely suspended its mandatory vaccination policies, including regular testing for unvaccinated students and employees. Face masks are still required indoors in classrooms and shared laboratories.

Several public colleges in Virginia, including Virginia Tech and George Mason University, lifted their COVID-19 vaccination requirements after state Attorney General Jason Miyares issued a legal opinion stating the state’s public universities could not require COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for enrollment or attendance. Both universities still “strongly encourage” everyone to be fully vaccinated, including getting a booster shot.

It’s unclear what prompted UC to amend its vaccination policy. Compliance rates for the policy were at about 95% for employees and 97% for students, and around 90% of students and employees on campus are vaccinated, officials said.

A student lawsuit against the university for its vaccination mandate, filed in December, is still ongoing in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The university filed to dismiss the case, which the students opposed. There is a hearing scheduled for May 15 before Judge Leslie Ghiz.

When will University of Cincinnati’s vaccine requirement end?

The university’s updated COVID-19 guidelines will begin with the 2022 summer term, a letter to faculty and staff reads. The protocol could change at any time as the university continues to consult with medical and public health experts.

The university still “strongly recommends” that faculty, staff and students get the shot, especially students living in residential housing on campus. Vaccination appointments are available on and off-campus.

“As a reminder, members of our community may choose to continue using facial masks, and we encourage everyone to support and respect those who choose to do so,” the message reads.

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