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The University will not disenroll students who do not receive a COVID-19 booster shot, per a University-wide email sent Monday evening by University President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs and chief executive officer of U.Va. Health. The update comes following Attorney General Jason Miyares’ advisory opinion Friday stating public colleges and universities have no legal authority to require students to have a COVID-19 vaccine in order to be enrolled or attend classes in-person.
“Attorney general opinions, though they do not have the force of law the way a court ruling does, nonetheless warrant careful consideration,” the email reads.
Miyares’ opinion differs from that of the previous attorney general Mark Herring, who said last April that universities do in fact have the legal authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. — this opinion served as the legal context for the University’s vaccine mandate for students ahead of the fall.
Anyone living, learning or working on Grounds was also required to receive a booster before returning by Jan. 14. The University rescinded this requirement for faculty and staff Jan. 19 following Governor Glenn Younkgin’s executive order.
Over 99 percent of students have already complied with the vaccine and booster requirement, per the email. Other Virginia schools, including George Mason University and Virginia Tech, have already rolled back vaccine mandates. Last fall, the University disenrolled 238 students for not complying with the vaccine requirement.
Current mask mandates and other public health policies will remain in place, including a temporary ban on food and beverages at events such as athletic competitions. The University plans to re-evaluate this policy by Feb. 4.
“This has not been the two years any of us would have asked or hoped for, but it has been a time where — as trying as it has been — we have demonstrated what it looks like when a community pulls together to get through something difficult,” the email reads. “And for all of that, you have our profound thanks.”