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The heated debate over Virginia’s mandate to vaccinate students starting the 2021-2022 school year in public colleges and universities across the state is penetrating local politics, including the governor race.
According to an email to college students received from Fox News, Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech, stated that unvaccinated students are not welcome on campus for the fall 2021 semester.
“While we want to ensure that all of our students have the best experience possible, no student is required to attend Virginia Tech.” He then lists other options, including the “opt-out” for the duration of the pandemic or the transfer to another facility with milder vaccination requirements.
Attorney General Mark Herring issued a legal opinion in April stating that colleges have the legal authority to require vaccines for in-person visits on public school premises.
Public school universities have started to take action as directed by the Attorney General.
WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS DOOR-TO-DOOR VACCINATION
Virginia Tech’s website states that “Compulsory vaccination is an important step in easing campus restrictions and returning to personal activities and events.”
“It is important that the Virginia Tech community is vaccinated and that anyone who is vaccinated must provide proof of vaccination.”
In response to the attorney general’s instructions to universities, state senator Bryce Reeves sent a letter to all Virginia college and university presidents strongly encouraging them not to request proof of vaccination for the fall students.
Reeves writes that schools must accept exceptions to religious beliefs for students and understand that many Virginians continue to fear the vaccine. Additionally, science shows that COVID-19 hospital admissions and deaths are at record lows across the state.
As the state’s race for governor heats up, the two candidates are carefully considering whether or not they would support the state’s current legal guidelines on vaccine regulation.
Macaulay Porter, a campaign spokesman for Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, told Fox News that he “believes vaccines should be available to all Virginians, but prescribing vaccines is a step too far. As governor, Glenn will not allow vaccine mandates.” or support. “
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign failed to respond to several Fox News requests for comment.
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President Biden will be joining McAuliffe in the Northern Virginia election campaign late next week. Although he has not specifically advocated requiring vaccine mandates, the President supports the widespread use of vaccines, including a “door-to-door” approach.
Biden’s HHS secretary, Xavier Becerra, recently came under fire for saying it was “an absolute government responsibility” to know the vaccination status of Americans.