Graham Kilmer

Marquette Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination

Beloit College and Lawrence University will also require vaccinations.

By - Jun 7th, 2021 03:33 pm
Looking west down W. Wells St. at Marquette's Campus Town Apartments. Campus Town East is the most visible. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Looking west down W. Wells St. at Marquette’s Campus Town Apartments. Campus Town East is the most visible. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Marquette University has become the largest college in Wisconsin to institute a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the upcoming academic year.

In a letter to students and staff, President Dr. Michael R. Lovell said the university will require a COVID-19 vaccination for all students attending classes during the 2021-2022 academic year.

The chancellor said the decision was “made after consulting with health experts.” He also said it was endorsed by the university’s COVID-19 response team, as well as committees and organizations whose members are drawn from faculty and graduate students. The student government executive board, composed of undergrads, was also “consulted” before the decision was made.

“A vaccinated student population will allow us to provide you with a richer in-person experience, reduce testing and let you interact more freely across campus,” Lovell wrote.

The university is allowing students the ability to request exemptions to the requirement on medical and religious grounds, or due to “personal conviction.” Students with exemptions will be required to continue undergo surveillance testing

Lovell wrote, “Scientific evidence has shown that vaccines are safe and effective at reducing transmission of the virus.” This statement has been repeatedly affirmed by public health officials at the local, state and federal level and by data from lab trials and millions of vaccinations worldwide.

Marquette is the first college in the Milwaukee area to require COVID-19 vaccination. But other private institutions have already announced similar policies. Beloit College and Lawrence University will both have vaccine requirements for the coming school year.

All three schools are requiring students to provide proof of vaccination before they return to campus. Beloit and Lawrence both spell out policies whereby vaccinated students will be able to avoid regular asymptomatic testing, and quarantining after being exposed. Beloit won’t require masking for vaccinated students and staff, and Lawrence won’t require masking indoors around others that are fully vaccinated.

For unvaccinated students and staff, all the pre-vaccine COVID-19 protocols remain.

Other schools, like Milwaukee School of Engineering, are not requiring vaccination, but are allowing vaccinated students to enjoy the campus free of some COVID-19 restrictions like mandatory mask wearing.

Vaccine requirements have become a controversial proposition nationwide. In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would bar the public UW-System from instituting a vaccine requirement.

System Interim-President Tommy Thompson recently said there will not be a vaccine mandate at UW colleges and universities, but “we will continue to mount an aggressive campaign to convince people that vaccination is the most effective tool we have to get to where we want to be.”

While the UW-System does not require any vaccinations, it recommends them for diseases like hepatitis, meningitis and tetanus. State law does require students living in residential facilities, like dormitories, to tell universities whether they have been vaccinated for meningitis or hepatitis B.

Governor Tony Evers has already vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have banned the state government from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination. But the governor said it was unlikely Wisconsin would institute such a requirement. Though, as the Associated Press reported, he doesn’t think it’s unreasonable for health care systems, businesses or universities to require vaccination.

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Categories: Education, Health, Weekly

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