Three universities in Oklahoma say they are currently not mandating their students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the return of in-person instruction in the fall.
The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Central Oklahoma released a statement after Rutgers University announced a plan to require students to be vaccinated before the beginning of the fall semester.
“COVID-19 vaccines are not required at this time for faculty, staff, or students,” the University of Oklahoma (OU) said in an interview with Fox 25.
“However, OU strongly encourages everyone to give full consideration to getting the vaccine. As an Emergency Use Authorized measure, the current COVID-19 vaccinations may not be mandated for employees or students,” it added.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) said that while they currently have no vaccine mandate in place, they recognize the decision may change depending on the situation.
“We’re encouraging, we’re educating, we’re putting the information out there,” Adrienne Nobles, UCO’s vice president of communication and public affairs, remarked. “And we’re really hoping that the voluntary effort will be enough, and the promise that if you do this, we will be able to proceed with those fully in-person classes will be enough to get us where we need to be.”
Rutgers University First to Announce Vaccine Mandate
Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first higher education institution to announce its plan to require students be vaccinated before face-to-face classes recommence in September.
President Jonathan Holloway declared that student safety will be the top priority for the school as in-person classes resume.
“We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding COVID-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” he said.
The mandate, however, does not apply to students enrolled in fully remote programs. Students may also request an exemption for medical or religious reasons.