U of M Board of Regents to require immunization for students

(ABC 6 News) – Pending full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the University of Minnesota will begin requiring the vaccine for all of its students, systemwide. The University’s Board of Regents endorsed this decision during a special meeting today.

“Delivering the best and safest possible educational experience in every aspect of our mission is the Board’s top priority,” said Board Chair Ken Powell. “Along with President Gabel and her leadership team, the Board has carefully considered expert advice and guidance as the public health environment around our five campuses has shifted, sometimes day-to-day, over the past 20 months. Looking at what is happening currently, and what appears to be on the horizon with the rise of new variants and case counts nationwide, the Board supported the vaccine mandate for our students to provide the best possible chance for safe, in-person and uninterrupted University experiences this fall.”

Once the FDA grants approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, all incoming and current University students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The University will allow medical and religious exemptions to this mandate. Additional details regarding the University’s vaccine requirements, including specific timing, how to report vaccinations and exemptions, and consequences for non-compliance are being finalized and will be announced once completed.

In addition, the Board also discussed the University’s approach to vaccinations for faculty and staff. Though shared governance consultations and conversations are ongoing, including meetings with labor partners to collectively bargain the impacts of attestation, University leadership shared a plan under which all faculty and staff would be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Faculty and staff would be asked to report that they are vaccinated and agree to get tested if exposed to a positive case or they are experiencing symptoms, and to follow all quarantine or isolation guidance provided by medical professionals. Additionally, those who attest that they are unvaccinated would be required to commit to COVID-19 testing on a regular schedule to be determined.