To Protect KU, Vaccinate KU
Updated: May 19, 2021
Can we return to normal in Fall 2021 even if the campus community has not been fully vaccinated? That appears to be the administration’s assumption. A January 15 message from the Provost announced that all classes that had been in-person prior to the pandemic would return to that format. The Chancellor’s most recent weekly COVID-19 video (episode 44) focused on the return to normal research practices. As students now enroll for fall, the Schedule of Classes shows that many fall courses are set to return to normal sizes and rooms.
And yet, KU has not mandated that students, faculty, or staff be vaccinated before returning to classes.
Mandatory vaccinations are not unprecedented. KU students are required to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella; there are established practices for handling exemptions. The number of public universities mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for the fall is growing. The UC and Cal State systems will require vaccinations of students and employees on all 33 of their campuses. State university systems in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, as well as many private schools, will also require vaccinations.
Chancellor Girod, a medical doctor himself, has said it is “unlikely” that KU will require vaccination for the fall. We call on the Chancellor to take a stand for public health and put the safety of all Jayhawks first, not politics or expediency. Over the past year, KU researchers have made significant contributions to the fight against COVID-19, including developing a rapid-response at-home test. We can also contribute by continuing to serve as a regional leader in evidence-based pandemic policy. Our safety--and that of the Lawrence community--depends on mandatory vaccinations.