UW System won’t require COVID-19 vaccination

Sophia Voight, Assistant News Editor

As the list of college campuses requiring students to have their COVID-19 vaccine for fall grows, the UW System campuses will exempt vaccinated students from testing requirements, but won’t mandate vaccinations.

Click image to view larger // Graphic by Amanda Hollander

Duke University in North Carolina, Nova Southeastern University in Florida and Cornell University in New York are among the growing number of campuses requiring vaccinations to return to campus in the fall.

Now that everyone in the United States aged 16 years and above is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, it is likely that more colleges will add vaccination mandates.

In a briefing on April 7, UW System interim President Tommy Thompson said he asked chancellors to allow students who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 to be exempt from the weekly COVID-19 testing requirements.

“This is a way to encourage students to get vaccinated, especially before they go home for summer vacation,” Thompson said.

UWO Student Health Center director Karen Sanchez said fully vaccinated students and employees will not need to participate in the university’s COVID-19 surveillance testing.

But UW campuses currently will not require students to get the vaccine for the fall semester.

Thompson said he opposes a vaccination requirement because he doesn’t want to prevent people who have religious, political or ideological opposition to getting the vaccine from going to college.

Sanchez said if a large number of students choose to not get vaccinated it could disrupt UWO’s plans to fully reopen in the fall semester.

“The worst case scenario when we have a lot of unvaccinated [people] is that the virus spreads readily and there are variants,” she said. “We could be back to where we were in [fall 2020].”

Free walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are available the remainder of this week at Culver Family Welcome Center.
The Culver Center is open from 12 – 5 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.