Some Southwest Virginia colleges still weighing COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Virginia Tech and Liberty University already said no to vaccine requirement

ROANOKE, Va. – There seems to be more confusion than clarity on Virginia college vaccination plans.

More than 120 of nearly 400 public and private colleges and universities analyzed in the country have added vaccination requirements for next school year, according to NBC News. Meanwhile, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found 36% of adults under the age of 35 don’t plan on getting the vaccine.

This week, the University of Virginia became the latest school added to the list of institutions requiring a vaccine for an on-campus return in the fall.

University staff and faculty are not required to get their shots, though UVA says it expects they will. Students, however, won’t be allowed to come onto Grounds unless they’re vaccinated or receive a specific medical or religious exemption.

Friday, Virginia Tech said “because vaccines are provided under FDA emergency use authorizations, the university cannot mandate students to receive vaccination. If the FDA fully approved vaccines, these can be mandated only if required by the Commonwealth.

Liberty University told WSLS 10 News they will not require the vaccine from any person affiliated with the school.

Justin Ward, Director of Media Services for Radford University, told us via email that the university plans on making a decision in June. He added, “we will continue to have thoughtful conversation and dialogue to help make an informed decision. Once a decision is made, it will be broadly communicated to both students and the public.”

Roanoke College Communication Specialist Alex McCarthy told us via email “a vaccine requirement is under consideration.” McCarthy added, “Once we finish the school year and get beyond our commencement ceremonies, we’ll take a much more focused look at the fall semester.”

Regular testing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures remain for those unvaccinated on most campuses.

The vaccine mandate goes into effect on July 1. Students will need to upload proof of their vaccination to the HealthyHoos website in order to return on grounds for the fall semester.

About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

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