UMD students reflect on vaccine mandate

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Students attending University of Minnesota schools must now add getting a COVID-19 vaccine to their back to school list.

This comes after the FDA gave their formal approval of the Pfizer vaccine Monday and a growing number of colleges are mandating it.

“We are really fortunate to have some of the nation’s leading infectious disease expert’s right here within the university and our medical school. So, we are relying on the advice of those folks and the science,” Lynne Williams, Director of Marketing & Communications at UMD said.

Kendra Kvebak, senior at UMD, supports the university’s decision to mandate the vaccine because she wants to attend classes in person all year and believes the vaccine will help guarantee that.

"I think it’s important that all students get vaccinated, so we can get some kind of normal back and be back in class and experience what college is actually like instead of sitting on Zoom,” Kvebak said.

Maya Urbanperlinger, senior at UMD, was also supportive of mandating vaccines because she too wants to make the most of college in person.

“Online classes were, I think, really stressful for all of us. Sitting on your computer for eight hours a day is a lot of work,” Urbanperlinger said. “So, it will be nice if we can get everyone back in school.”

On the other side of the coin, Jake Zeiler, another senior at UMD, said that getting vaccinated should be an individual choice.

"As a person who is vaccinated, I don’t have anything against people who aren’t. I don’t have anything against people who are. It’s really your own decision to make,” Zeiler said.

The university said students will receive an email in the coming days with instructions on confirming their vaccination status. More information about current vaccines required by UMD can be found here.

It is not clear what the consequences of not getting vaccinated will be at this time.

“All of the details are still being worked out,” Williams said.

Staff too can expect to receive an email asking about their vaccination status, but will not be required to get a vaccine. Instead, they will be required to undergo regular testing.

“The way it will work with faculty and staff is, we will be asked to attest and complete a test as to whether or not we have had the vaccine or adhere to regular COVID testing,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, Minnesota state schools like Lake Superior College have not mandated the vaccine for students at this time, but may consider it.

While, College of St. Scholastica leadership plans to meet Tuesday to discuss whether or not they will mandate vaccines for students.

The University of Wisconsin system is not requiring vaccines, but system President Tommy Thompson sent out a message Monday urging people to get them.