SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Students at the University of Utah will be restricted from registering for spring classes if they do not get the COVID-19 vaccine or complete an exemption form by the end of September. The U. is one of five Utah colleges or universities to require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In late August, the U of U announced it would require vaccination but did not immediately share details. On Wednesday, the school shared those additional details.
The University says it is reaching out to students this week to begin implementing its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, saying all students will receive an email from Student Health notifying them of the steps to either report their vaccination status, find a vaccination clinic, or complete an exemption form.
According to the U of U, students are already required to be fully vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella. Since the FDA has given the Pfizer COVID-19 full approval, and with consent from the Governor’s Office, state lawmakers, and the Utah System of Higher Education, the university says it is adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required inoculations.
Under a law passed earlier this year, Utah universities and colleges cannot require students to get the vaccine in order to attend in-person classes unless students are allowed to opt out for medical or personal reasons. Utah lawmakers also passed a law blocking government officials from requiring the vaccines approved for emergency use. Because the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval, public institutions like the University of Utah can enact vaccine mandates.
“We appreciate every member of the University of Utah community who has already been vaccinated,” says Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. “We know the best way out of this global health crisis and back to the exceptional, face-to-face college the university provides is through vaccination and following public health guidance. We want our students, faculty and staff to be able to interact fully in person in classrooms, laboratories, libraries and offices across campus. And the safest and most effective way to get back to those experiences is through these proven vaccines.”
The U. relies on verified data to track the campus vaccination rate of students. When students enroll in classes, the U. says they are required to upload their vaccination records or the results of a blood test. For students who have received vaccines in Utah, they generally do not need to do this, but out-of-state will be required to upload information. In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, the U of U says it will accept vaccination records for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and international vaccines like AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm BIBP, and Sinovac.
Students, as required by law, can complete a request for a medical, religious, or personal exemption.
According to the U., students will receive multiple reminders to either provide vaccination information or indicate a reason for exemption. Students who do not complete either by September 31 will see a hold placed on their registration for the Spring 2022 semester. Those holds will be lifted once a student gets vaccinated or fulfills the exemption requirement.