Gov. Cox, state legislative leaders say they support universities’ moves to require vaccinations

File Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy Van Valkenburg

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 27, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox, Senate President J. Stuart Adams, and House Speaker Brad Wilson issued a statement Friday evening expressing their support for campus vaccination requirements after the University of Utah and Utah State University announced their decisions to require students to provide proof of vaccination by spring semester.

The joint statement says:

“The law allows Utah’s universities to require vaccinations as long as there is a path for students to submit personal exemptions and attend in-person classes. We support this balanced approach and look forward to keeping students, faculty and staff at our colleges and universities safe this year.”

Earlier on Friday, the University of Utah announced in a letter to faculty, staff and the student body that the university “intends to pursue requiring COVID-19 vaccination for its students.”

The U of U letter goes on to say, “Our expectation is to share detailed plans on the requirement — and the process for requesting an exemption based on health conditions, religious or personal beliefs — with students early next week. Conversations with state leaders continue about a potential vaccine requirement for faculty and staff. Conversations also continue regarding vaccine requirements for University of Utah Health, including hospitals and clinics employees.”

Utah State University President Noelle E. Cockett also emailed a letter to students and employees Friday, stating, “Utah State University officials are now working on an implementation plan for USU campuses. Vaccination will be required no later than the beginning of spring semester 2022.

“As outlined in Utah HB 308, students can opt out for religious, medical, and personal reasons.”

Later Friday night, Weber State University joined the others in the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on campus, stating in a news release:

“Weber State University has received guidance from the Utah System of Higher Education encouraging college and university presidents to consider requiring COVID-19 vaccines on their campuses with allowable exemptions for religious, medical and personal reasons.

“Weber State will work on a vaccination requirement to be implemented this fall that will require students to be vaccinated prior to spring semester.

“As a USHE institution, we want to do our part to help the state combat increasing rates of infection and hospitalizations.”

Weber State also plans to share details of the requirement with students, staff and faculty next week.

Gephardt Daily will follow up with more information as further details are released.


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