University of Akron considers dropping its COVID vaccine mandate

The University of Akron is considering dropping its COVID vaccine mandate.
The University of Akron is considering dropping its COVID vaccine mandate.(woio)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:29 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The University of Akron is considering dropping its COVID vaccine mandate.

The discussion comes just days after a 19 News investigation revealed that hundreds of Ohio college students are applying for and easily receiving exemptions from the vaccine.

In some cases, we found local students coaching each other on what to say to be successful in getting a religious exemption from the shot.

Thousands of students at three Ohio universities have requested exemptions from vaccine mandates, and university authorities have granted a majority of those requests, a 19 News investigation shows. Thoughts?

Posted by Hannah Catlett on Tuesday, October 5, 2021

In a letter the University of Akron’s president noted the ability to get exemptions, but also says administrators are considering the change because vaccination rates have recently increased on campus.

He also mentions that pending state legislation could soon force universities to drop mandates soon anyways.

His full statement reads:

A spokesperson for UA said in an email Friday, “The University has not made any firm decisions regarding changes to the vaccination requirement at this time.”

As of late September, the University of Akron says it’d received and reviewed 85 exemption applications. A committee approved 59% of them and denied the remaining 41%.

New data on exemption requests was not immediately available when we reached out Friday.

When we followed up with Kent State University Friday, a spokesperson told us the school does not have plans to change its policy.

Eric Mansfield with Kent State University says, “Our vaccination requirement policy remains in place as announced in late August.”

Mansfield was able to send us updated numbers on exemption requests at KSU.

The school says as of Friday, 438 exemption requests have been submitted.

Of those, 387 requests are from students-- 237 are approved, 41 are denied and 109 are pending review.

Mansfield also told 19 Investigates that earlier this week, faculty unions agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in support of requiring faculty members to be vaccinated. That means that by Nov. 1, all faculty will be required to have either submitted evidence of vaccination or requested an exemption and begun the testing protocol.

KSU says it has received 51 exemption requests from employees. Right now, 32 are approved, eight are denied and 11 are pending review.

We are waiting on a response from Ohio State University about whether it has any intention to review it’s vaccine policy.

We’ll keep you updated on this developing story.

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