SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 27, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The University of Utah will implement a vaccine requirement for all students, according to a letter sent to faculty, staff and the student body Friday.
The letter reads, in full:
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our community, state leaders this week have granted all Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions greater flexibility to set vaccine policy for their campuses. The University of Utah intends to pursue requiring COVID-19 vaccination for its students. We appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with state leaders as the rates of infection and hospitalization grow throughout Utah.
“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.
“The good news is that one week into the semester, at least 67% of our students are fully vaccinated and 4.5% are partially vaccinated. More than 80% of benefitted faculty and staff have been vaccinated.
“We each have seen inspiring examples of kindness, patience, and compassion across campus this week as our community returned to in-person operations in these uncertain times. This global health crisis has transformed two years of our lives and continues to impact our communities. Many of us have lost loved ones or seen the health of friends and family permanently changed by this virus. Nevertheless, we continue to lift each other as we meet on campus — in classrooms, labs, offices, and other spaces of learning and working.
“We encourage each of you to continue to treat each other with empathy and understanding as we work through the ever-evolving circumstances of this pandemic. We will emerge stronger at the end of this school year as we pull together now as one University of Utah family.”
The letter is signed by President Taylor Randall, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Michael Good, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed, Vice President for Student Affairs Lori McDonald and President of the Academic Senate Christina Porucznik.
The university will release more information next week as it becomes available, officials said.
Utah State University has also indicated it may soon issue a vaccine requirement.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is provided.