Indiana College’s vaccine mandate is dealing with backlash, with some states making masks optionally available in faculties within the fall

Anti-Vaxxers and Anti-Maskers gathered at Indiana University’s sample gates to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for students, staff and faculties for the coming fall semester. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Students are returning to class amid the coronavirus pandemic, and to keep you updated on what’s going on in U.S. schools – K-12 as well as colleges – Yahoo Life hosts a weekly roundup of news, interviews, and updates about the ever – unfolding situation.

Some Indiana University parents and students are protesting the school’s mandate to vaccinate

Indiana University officials announced May 21 that the school will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, faculties, and staff on campus for the fall semester of 2021.

On Thursday, students and families who opposed the university’s policies took part in a “rally for freedom of medicine.”

The university has cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other major medical organizations in the United States, stating that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“This new requirement will allow the university to lift most of the restrictions on masking and physical distancing this fall,” the university said in a statement. “Knowing that the vast majority of the IU community is vaccinated is the only way the university can confidently return to face-to-face teaching, more face-to-face events, and a more typical university experience.”

From December 14, 2020 to June 10, 2021, more than 305 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the US and the vaccines “have been and continue to be subjected to the most intense security surveillance in US history”. says the CDC. Tracking uses both established and emerging security monitoring systems to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are safe, the agency says.

Kari Bundy, translation coordinator for Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who regularly speaks out against vaccination policies, spoke at the event. She tells Yahoo Life that her organization joined the protest “because of safety concerns” about vaccination requirements. “Every vaccine carries real and sometimes serious risks that make it imperative that people always have a choice,” she says. “What we see with such requests is coercion and bullying over an experimental vaccine, the long-term effects of which are completely unknown.”

The story goes on

Bundy says “People, not governments or private companies, should make health decisions for themselves and their families.” She adds, “We hope Indiana University is doing the right thing and dropping this and all other attempts to violate the freedom of its students, staff, and faculties.”

Protesters hold placards

Protesters hold placards at Indiana University’s sample gates. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Indiana University spokesman Chuck Carney told Yahoo Life that the vaccine mandate was created to try to make campus life safer for students, faculty and staff. “We’re trying to get back to the things they told us they wanted: full classes, the opportunity to have lunch in a canteen next to friends, and full capacity events – really having the college experience they wanted felt missed in the pandemic, “he says.” The vaccine is the way to go safely and have a more normal atmosphere. “

According to the mandate, all students, faculty, and staff should receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 1 to meet the university’s requirement that they be fully vaccinated by August 15, or if they are their first time return to campus, whichever happened earlier.

There are religious and medical exceptions, “but if someone has none of them and has not obeyed them” [with the mandate], it could ultimately lead to expulsion or dismissal, “says Carney. He adds, however,” We hope it doesn’t come to that. “

Ultimately, says Carney, “school officials believe this is the safest way to go.”

Cincinnati Public Schools may make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for teachers and staff

The Cincinnati Public Schools system is considering a vaccination mandate for faculty and staff for the 2021-2022 school year. The district’s education committee discussed the possibility in a board meeting on Monday.

Krista Boyle, Cincinnati Public Schools’ chief communications and engagement officer, told Yahoo Life that the board of directors “discussed a potential vaccine policy” at the board meeting, but that nothing is final at this point. “The next steps are for the policy committee to get feedback from other stakeholders, including unions and partners, and make a recommendation for an upcoming board meeting,” she says.

It is unclear at this point what the general consensus of the community is. The school district is the third largest in Ohio and serves 36,000 students from preschool through 12th grade.

While vaccination regulations are controversial, doctors say they are helpful in preventing the spread of disease. “Yes, the vaccine should be prescribed,” says Dr. John Sellick, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo, told Yahoo Life. “This is a group situation and although people say, ‘This is my personal preference,’ you may be putting other people at risk.”

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” says Dr. Stanley Weiss, professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health, told Yahoo Life. He also says it is “wise” to ask the teachers’ unions for help. “It’s really important that people talk peer-to-peer instead of feeling dictated,” says Weiss.

Even so, Sellick says, he’s not sure if this actually comes to fruition. “I don’t bet a lot of money that it will happen,” he says.

The Board plans to work on the guideline and hopes to present it at the next meeting on June 28th.

Duke, Penn State and more will all have sporting events in full swing this fall

duke The university will open all athletics venues to full capacity in the fall, the school said on Twitter on Tuesday.

This marks the end of more than a year of COVID-19 safety protocols and empty arenas.

The fans were overwhelmingly enthusiastic in the comments. “Yes! Looking forward to autumn !! Go Duke !!” one wrote. “So excited! Let’s go Duke!” said another.

Duke announced in early April that all new and returning Duke students will need to present proof of vaccination to the school’s health department before they can enroll for the fall semester. “The last 14 months have been among the most difficult and exhausting in the history of our university. Under great stress and often in great danger, we have continued to work for one another – and for our missions of discovery, research, and patient care, ”Duke President Vincent E. Price wrote in a letter to the Duke community. “I ask you to take the next step with me to ensure the safety and vitality of our university community.”

Duke isn’t the only school planning a return to normal capacity: Penn State, University of Maryland, Arizona State, and Coastal Carolina University have also announced plans to fully open their sports facilities to fans.

But Weiss is careful about opening the venues to full capacity. “I think that’s a terrible idea,” he says. “Some of these events will take place indoors.” Duke has yet to say whether the school will require people entering their sports venues to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sellick says it is early days to make such a decision. “A lot will depend on what happens in summer and autumn,” he says. “We have to see if one of these more aggressive variants prevails. If so, this will be a problem.”

Several states are making mask guidelines optional in schools for the next year

The CDC still recommends that students wear face masks in schools, but several states have guidelines that allow individual counties to decide on their own mask guidelines.

New York state will allow school districts to choose whether to waive the requirement for their students to wear masks outdoors. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that state officials are waiting to find out if masks can also become optional indoors.

In Florida, masks are also optional for school districts, with some districts already abolishing mandates. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said during a news conference this week that teachers and students in the state can remove their masks when “outdoors and in extreme heat situations outdoors and in indoor or outdoor situations where.” wearing a mask would be detrimental to the health of the individual “.”

Weiss says that student age plays a role in the waiver of compulsory vaccination in schools, and points out that children under the age of 12 cannot currently be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, COVID-19 vaccines could be available in the US for children 6 months and older by the fall, both Pfizer and Moderna told the New York Times this week. Until then, says Weiss, masks should be used. “The impetus should be to have suitable children fully vaccinated,” he says. “If teachers and staff are also fully vaccinated, we can then reassess it. Now it’s too early, especially for younger age groups.”

Local case numbers will also matter, Sellick says. “Back to school can be done safely depending on local epidemiology, but we may still need to use masks,” he says. “And in more conservative communities, where people are resistant to the vaccine, there could be a problem losing mask requirements in schools.”

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