University removes vaccine requirements, announces closure of testing site

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Daily Illini Photo File

Pfizer BioNTech vaccinations are prepared for the release of the pediatric vaccine on Nov. 6, 2021. As of Tuesday, the University has lifted numerous COVID-19 restrictions.

By Lika Lezhava

The University sent out a Massmail on Jan. 5 that detailed updates to existing COVID-19 guidelines.

The first major new update is vaccine requirements. The University is no longer requiring the COVID-19 primary vaccine for students and staff, and those without the vaccine are no longer required to be regularly tested. 

Hannah Chen, junior in LAS, said she doesn’t feel completely safe with the removal of the vaccine requirement.

“I just feel a little unsafe if I decided to go out with my friends on the weekends because you don’t know where people have been,” Chen said.

Although still encouraged, the University will continue to no longer require students and staff to wear masks until further notice. As stated in the Massmail, “masking requirements may vary and could change as deemed necessary.” 

“I tend to wear masks pretty often,” Chen said. “Some people still choose to wear masks because we all understand that (COVID-19) is still active.” 

Some students like Grace Anderson, senior in Education, think that the update doesn’t change much. 

“Prior to the mandate lift, students were finding their way out of those things if they really wanted to,” Anderson said. “Even when optional, most students are going to do as they feel.”

The number of testing sites on campus will decrease this semester. The Illini Union testing site will permanently close on Feb. 11, and CRCE will continue to operate as normal. 

“I don’t think that a lack of testing centers reflects well on the University,” Anderson said. “If students want to be tested and follow guidelines … but are not given the opportunity to do so, this is at the fault of the University.”

Students are encouraged to continue to look after themselves and take all of the right precautions to keep themselves and the ones around them safe. 

 

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