UD no longer requiring COVID vaccinations for staff

Students, workers and residents walk around Brown Street near the University of Dayton campus Wednesday afternoon Jan.  12, 2022. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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Students, workers and residents walk around Brown Street near the University of Dayton campus Wednesday afternoon Jan. 12, 2022. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

University cites Supreme Court ruling; local public colleges’ mandates still in place

The University of Dayton no longer has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff, according to a university spokesman.

School officials said the university’s vaccine and testing requirements were established to comply with federal regulations, which have since been struck down by the Supreme Court.

The university said last fall, in compliance with President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14042 covering federal contractors, that UD required all employees to either be vaccinated or request medical or religious exemptions.

UD then fell under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule for large employers requiring employee vaccines or regular testing, a spokesman said.

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However, an email to the university community Friday from the university’s “Path Forward” team — a group of UD employees who work on pandemic-related issues — noted Thursday’s 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck that rule down as well.

UD is not required to mandate the vaccine or testing under any other federal rules, the spokesman said.

There is no longer a vaccine mandate in place, but the university says it is continuing to encourage vaccinations, with the vaccine rate on-campus remaining high, the spokesman said.

“However, rather than create a stand-alone requirement (with the option to seek medical or religious exemptions), the university has chosen to encourage faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated, and more than 78% of the campus community has uploaded their vaccination cards to prove that they are vaccinated,” university officials said in a statement.

Ohio’s overall vaccination rate as of Tuesday is about 61% across all ages and about 71% for Ohioans over 18.

Joel Pruce, a political science assistant professor at UD, said he has heard from several students who are worried that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or that the cough they’ve been having is COVID-19.

“I fear that the permissive policy places students and faculty in a really terrible position to having to trade between learning, teaching and staying healthy,” Pruce said.

Masks continue to be required on the UD campus. University officials said those with questions are invited to email covid19@udayton.edu.

Among local public universities, Miami University and Ohio State University both imposed vaccine mandates in August, but neither university has rescinded their mandates so far, according to their respective websites.

Wright State announced to employees last November that staff needed to be vaccinated or obtain an exemption by Jan. 4. According to Wright State, while the rule applied to WSU was struck down, the vaccine mandate for staff remains in place.

Tom Gnau contributed to this story.

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