Miami U. to require vaccination for students, staff

Exemptions are available for medical, religious and reasons on conscience

Miami University announced Tuesday it will require the COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty and staff by Nov. 22.

The announcement said exemptions can be sought for medical reasons, religious reasons or for reasons of conscience, including ethical and philosophical beliefs.

“All of us would like to return to pre-pandemic conditions where we can all be together, collaborating in our vibrant learning community focused on mission and purpose,” Miami University President Gregory P. Crawford said in a release. “Vaccination is a necessary tool to move us toward that goal.”

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The university said students will not be permitted to register for spring semester classes unless they have begun the vaccination process with at least one dose by Oct. 25 or have received an approved exemption. Students will not be disenrolled for the fall term.

“We strongly urge all members of our community to start the vaccination or exemption process as soon as possible,” Crawford said. “The delta variant has shown to be particularly contagious and dangerous for those who are unvaccinated; this is not the time to wait for a deadline to act.”

To claim an exclusion for reasons of conscience, or a religious belief, individuals must complete documentation affirming a sincerely held belief, acknowledging the risk of serious illness and agreeing to comply with health and safety requirements to best protect the community and themselves—including testing—for unvaccinated individuals, the release said.

A deferral may be granted for pregnancy or nursing or for those who have had COVID-19 within 90 days preceding Oct. 25.

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Employees who choose not to be vaccinated and who do not receive an exemption or deferral may face university disciplinary action, the statement read.

The university reportedly began seeking input from the campus community about a vaccine mandate and met with faculty, staff and students once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23. The feedback as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped determine the policy, according to the university.

Free vaccines are available to the MU community at the Armstrong Student Center on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome.

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Students and employees, as well as spouses and dependents ages 12 and older, can also get vaccinated for free through the university’s Health Services on the Oxford campus at 500 Harris Drive. To schedule a vaccine appointment, call 513-529-3000.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with additional information.

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