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News >  Crime/Public Safety

All Oregon’s public universities will require COVID vaccine

UPDATED: Fri., June 4, 2021

With Eastern Oregon University announcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on Thursday, all of the state’s public universities now have vaccine mandates in place for this coming fall.  (Rob Manning/Oregon Public Broadcasting)
With Eastern Oregon University announcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on Thursday, all of the state’s public universities now have vaccine mandates in place for this coming fall. (Rob Manning/Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Associated Press

Associated Press

PORTLAND – All of Oregon’s publicly funded universities will now require the COVID-19 vaccination for returning students, as well as faculty and staff.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Friday that the final two universities to announce the decision were the Oregon Institute of Technology and Eastern Oregon University.

The schools will have a process for students to get legal exemptions. Students who attend class fully online and who don’t engage in any on-campus activities will not be required to be vaccinated, the news outlet said.

OIT made its announcement Wednesday afternoon, and EOU followed on Thursday.

EOU President Tom Inkso said during a board meeting in May that many students and faculty were split on the decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a survey, the majority of faculty at EOU were in favor of a vaccine mandate, while the majority of students were against one.

“We deliberated this decision at length, evaluated science and public health recommendations, and surveyed the EOU community to identify the best path to restoring a healthy, highly engaged community for those who work and learn on our campus,” Inkso said in a statement Thursday.

Eastern will officially require COVID-19 vaccinations when the Federal Drug Administration fully approves one or more of the vaccines. Both Pfizer and Moderna have emergency use approval for their shots and expect to get full approval later in 2021.

But EOU officials emphasized in a statement that students and faculty shouldn’t wait for the full approval to get their vaccines.

Students who attend class fully online and who don’t engage in any on-campus activities will not be required to be vaccinated.

“Ultimately, as with every decision related to the pandemic, we are focused on protecting the safety and health of the EOU community, and returning to a highly engaged, in-person, on-campus experience that upholds our mission and shared values,” Insko said in his statement. “We remain committed to providing all students with the greatest educational opportunities possible in preparation for success after graduation.”

Both EOU and OIT said they will provide more information on how to request an exemption or submit proof of vaccination.

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