VA Universities Reverse Requirements After Republican AG Calls Mandates Illegal

Several public universities reversed their COVID vaccine requirements for students after newly-elected Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said these mandates violated the law. 

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Public schools like Christopher Newport University, Virginia Tech University, and George Mason University reversed course just days after Miyares published a legal opinion where he went into detail explaining why vaccine requirements for universities go against the law. 

“Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Miyares writes. “The legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements.” 

Due to this, some Virginia schools have made changes to their vaccine policies. Christopher Newport University sent out an email to their students saying that they are no longer required to have a booster shot by Feb. 15. The email stated: 

“On Friday, January 28, Attorney General, Jason Miyares issued an opinion superseding the opinion of his predecessor regarding the authority of institutions of higher education to require COVID-19 vaccination of our students as a condition of enrollment.  Therefore, our students are no longer required to obtain boosters by February 15.” 

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“We know that the vaccine has been incredibly effective in mitigating the impact of the virus on our campus,” the email continued. “Fortunately, as we began this new semester, 95% of our students and more than 90% of our faculty and staff had been fully vaccinated.”

On the Virginia Tech home page, it has been updated that Virginia Tech is no longer requiring students to be vaccinated. It states: 

“On Jan. 28, 2022, Virginia’s attorney general issued a legal opinion concerning vaccine requirements that reverses the preceding attorney general’s opinion upon which our vaccine policy was based. Consequently, Virginia Tech no longer requires students to be vaccinated as a condition of enrollment or in-person instruction.”

While George Mason University is no longer requiring the vaccine as they previously did, they still strongly encourage students to get it.