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Miami University to require all students, staff get COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 21:40:44-04

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University will require all students, faculty and staff to get their COVID-19 vaccines, the school announced Tuesday.

"As cases in Ohio and across the nation rise, the overwhelming majority of those testing positive and those hospitalized suffering severe illness are unvaccinated," wrote university president Gregory Crawford in the announcement. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local, state and federal public health officials agree: the vaccine is our most important tool for protecting our communities."

All full- and part-time faculty and staff, as well as undergraduate and graduate students "who will have any presence" on any of the university's campuses or university-owned property, must have at least one dose by Oct. 25. They must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, Crawford said.

The university will consider exemption requests on a medical basis or "sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances, or reasons of conscience, including philosophical and ethical beliefs." Requests for exemption have to be submitted by Oct. 15.

Emotions among students on Tuesday following the announcement were mixed.

"I just feel like it's your right as a person to be able to choose whether to be vaccinated or not," said Leighann Johnson, a student at the Oxford campus.

Tuesday's announcement comes a day after the Oxford City Council voted to implement a city-wide mask mandate for all public, indoor spaces within city limits. Johnson said in light of this rule, she doesn't believe vaccines should also be mandatory.

"Even though we wear the mask, it is not safe enough," said Aubrey Liu.

Many like Liu and Mary McCauley, are in favor of the university's mandate.

"I think it's great, maybe it will help us get back to normal," said McCauley.

Ohio University, Ohio State University and Indiana University also recently announced they would require students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Xavier University is requiring all students on campus to get vaccinated, but have not announced a mandate for faculty or staff.

WCPO reached out to Miami University for an interview on this story, but the university said no one was available to speak on Tuesday.