COLUMBIA, Mo. – COVID-19 vaccines are no longer needed for faculty, staff and students at the University of Missouri after a Georgia judge blocked President Joe Biden’s executive order.
Less than a week ago, the University of Missouri system emailed employees at Mizzou, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), Missouri Science and Technology (Missouri S&T ) and the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL), telling them they must comply with the vaccination mandate by sending in their vaccination record or submitting a waiver. Now that requirement is on hold, but Mizzou officials say it could come back into effect at any time.
“We have been very clear that the situation continues to evolve,” said Christian Basi, communications director of Mizzou.
Just before Thanksgiving, the University of Missouri board of directors voted that all four universities in its system would comply with the federal vaccine mandate, requiring employees to be vaccinated by Jan.4, 2022.
“We felt it was prudent to go ahead with the vaccines mandate because that was what we knew at the time,” Basi said.
Under the order issued by the trustees, the warrant could be lifted at any time, according to the courts. On Tuesday, a Georgian judge blocked the federal tenure of contract government workers across the country.
“In order to legally comply with this, we have suspended our vaccination mandate on all of our campuses,” Basi said. “This current legal action that has been taken is temporary.”
The university wouldn’t say how many employees have submitted an exemption since the email was sent on December 2. Under the resolution, there are three exemptions, religious and medical reasons, and based on the university’s decision, how close an individual has contact with a federal contract employee.
“For those who have requested a waiver, we are not going to take any action as it is not necessary at the moment,” Basi said. “We will keep this information, put it in our file on hold. we will keep this information as we have it in the event that we need to comply with it.
At a vaccination clinic last Friday, 192 people rolled up their sleeves. Over 90% (181 people in total) were booster shots. Basi said four people showed up for their first shot and seven for their second.
Mizzou’s sophomore Sydney Cleavinger said all of her friends and teachers were vaccinated.
“Coming here, it was really nice to know that a lot of people around me were going to be vaccinated,” Cleavinger said.
She said having the warrant on campus provided an added layer of protection for her and her family.
“It’s just an extra step that Mizzou took to protect me every time I came home to my family and every time I went to see my grandparents it made me feel safe, that I didn’t was not going to be around people who might not be vaccinated, ”Cleavinger said.
Cleavinger, of Moberly, said she was vaccinated because she had worked in a hospital during the summer. Without a warrant, she said she still felt safe on campus.
“The cases have gone down a lot and I know who I surround myself with,” Cleavinger said. “I know there are people who don’t feel safe around people who aren’t vaccinated, but personally, I don’t really mind.
About 15,000 students, teachers and staff voluntarily downloaded their vaccination cards in Mizzou. Currently, there are 21 active COVID cases between faculty and staff, and 35 students have tested positive for the virus.
Basi said that unlike last year, students living in halls of residence will not have to test negative before being allowed to return to their dorms.
According to the email, employees were sent on Tuesday about the waiver of the warrant, the memo said employees of the University of Missouri health system in Colombia or faculty, staff and students at the University of Missouri in Colombia. ‘UMKCs who have direct contact with patents in healthcare facilities are not exempt. of the mandate. These employers are required to be vaccinated under a different policy put in place by the university in August.
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