Confusing rules, loopholes and legal issues: College vaccination plans are a mess
When the coronavirus began to spread around the country last year, most colleges and universities shut their doors. And when they began to reopen in the fall, they did so in piecemeal and convoluted ways.
In some cases, students could live in dorms but had to take classes online. Dining halls were reservation-only. Singing was banned. While some schools avoided major outbreaks, others became hot spots.
The introduction of three Covid-19 vaccines early this year to college populations seemed to present an exit from these patchwork reopenings, which robbed students of a traditional college experience. But an NBC News analysis of rules across the U.S. found that vaccination requirements for students have proven to be just as complicated as the frenetic fall 2020 semester, if not more so.
In Texas, public universities can’t require a vaccination, but private ones can. In Massachusetts, where colleges and universities can mandate Covid-19 vaccinations, 43 of more than 100 had agreed to do so by mid-May. In New York, public universities cannot allow for religious exemptions, while a majority of the state’s private universities can.
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