Letter to the Editor | University must issue vaccine mandate

By Edward Thomas

Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has been at the forefront of the fight against the virus. In addition to being one of the pioneers of saliva-based COVID-19 testing, it was scientists and data from the University which were used to justify the statewide COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Like many other students, I am proud of our school for playing such a key role in the fight against the pandemic, I am equally confused as to why the University has issued no guidance as to whether students will be required to vaccinate against COVID-19.

The official University website says that the Illinois Department of Public Health (answerable to the Governor) determines which vaccines are required for students, but as of yet, there is no requirement for a student to vaccinate for COVID-19, nor has the University made any discernible effort to track rates of COVID-19 vaccination among students, staff or faculty. This is particularly problematic in the face of the fact that the University has already announced plans to return to mostly in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester.

This begs the question of how the University can guarantee the safety of students, staff and faculty if they are not tracking vaccination rates. A vaccine mandate is the only answer, and the University administration should call upon Gov. Pritzker to add all public colleges in Illinois to the list of institutions requiring students to vaccinate in order to enroll in the fall.

Edward is a sophomore in LAS.

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