Some of Virginia’s public universities rescinded their vaccine mandates after Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) took office this week and signed a flurry of executive orders on his first day.
One of those orders banned vaccine mandates by employers.
Now, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Virginia State University (VSU) say they will drop their vaccine mandates for their employees.
“On Jan. 15, Governor Youngkin issued executive orders and directives regarding COVID-19. Similar to what is taking place at other Virginia colleges and universities, VCU has decided the following changes will go into effect immediately,” the school said in a letter to faculty and staff.
“Employees are not required to be vaccinated, receive a booster or to report their vaccination status to the university,” it continued. “COVID-19 surveillance testing and daily health checks are also no longer required for VCU employees.”
Virginia State University did the same.
“[T]he VSU administration strongly requests, encourages, and appeals to all employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots as part of our campus efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain a safe and healthy campus environment,” VSU spokesperson Gwen Dandridge told The Progress-Index. “VSU will continue to enforce a strict mask mandate for all employees at all times when on campus except when eating or alone in an individual office.”
The two-state universities join a number of other schools in dropping their faculty and staff vaccine mandates. According to The Hill, Virginia Tech, UVA, William and Mary, University of Mary Washington, Longwood University, James Madison University and Norfolk State University have all dropped the mandates already.
Students at all of the schools mentioned are still required to take the vaccine.
Youngkin’s office did not return a comment request.
One of the new governor’s executive orders also bans mask mandates in public schools.
But public elementary and high schools are not rolling over as easily to that order, compared to their college counterparts.
As The Virginia Star reported, four major school districts said they will defy Youngkin’s ban on mask mandates, and continue to force children, faculty and staff to wear masks in school.
Those districts include Fairfax County Public Schools, Arlington Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools and Alexandria City Public Schools.
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