Virginia Tech Drops COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
January 31, 2022Updated: January 31, 2022

Virginia Tech University on Monday announced that it will no longer require COVID-19 vaccines for students, coming after the state’s new Attorney General Jason Miyares penned a legal opinion saying colleges cannot mandate the shots.

“Virginia Tech will no longer require students to be vaccinated as a condition of enrollment or in-person instruction, effective immediately,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said in a letter obtained by The Epoch Times. “Federal regulations may still require students who work in specific settings to be vaccinated, receive the booster when eligible, and upload their health information.”

In his letter, Sands cited Miyares’s recent opinion for discontinuing the policy.

The school, meanwhile, will not force mandatory COVID-19 testing on students but will provide voluntary testing, Sands added.

“We are fortunate that our university community has a very high percentage of vaccinated faculty, staff, and students, which positions us well to maintain operations through the semester,” the school president continued, noting that “managing the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives has taken a toll on everyone,” including students’ physical and mental health.

In late January, Miyares wrote that state universities and colleges cannot mandate vaccines as a condition for students’ enrollment for in-person attendance. His opinion reversed former Attorney General Mark Herring’s stance on which Virginia Tech’s policy was based.

Virginia’s state of emergency that was created by the pandemic didn’t extend the powers of entities “that are expressly subject to the control of the General Assembly,” Miyares said. “Notably, the authority to require immunization during a public health emergency belongs to the State Health Commissioner,” he added.

In recent weeks, the University of Virginia and George Mason University recently confirmed they would roll back employee vaccine mandates for employees. Virginia Tech, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William & Mary, and the University of Mary Washington have done the same, according to a Washington Post report on Jan. 19.

Youngkin, a Republican, in early January issued executive orders (pdf) that prohibited state agencies, including colleges, from mandating COVID-19 vaccines as a condition for employment.

“We will continue to ensure that every Virginian has access to the information necessary to make an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccination and ensure all who desire a vaccination can obtain one,” the governor said at the time.

It comes as a growing number of universities across the United States have started to mandate boosters as a condition to attend in-person classes or as a condition for employment. Stanford University, for example, issued an alert to students that they must receive a COVID-19 booster dose by Jan. 31 or the school will place a hold on their enrollment for the spring semester.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

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