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Miami mandates COVID-19 vaccines


This story was updated Tuesday morning, following President Crawford's 11:41 a.m. announcement.

Following yesterday’s announcement of a vaccine requirement for all Miami University students, faculty and staff made during a University Senate meeting, President Greg Crawford sent out a university-wide email confirming the requirement and providing more context about the mandate. 

In his email, Crawford encouraged the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The delta variant has shown to be particularly contagious and dangerous for those who are unvaccinated,” Crawford wrote. “This is not the time to wait for a deadline to act.”

The vaccine requirement policy outlines three key dates. 

Everyone must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, receiving their first dose of the vaccine no later than Oct. 25. 

Community members wishing to request an exemption to the new policy must do so by Oct. 15.

Exemptions to the policy will be granted for medical reasons, sincerely held religious beliefs or for reasons of conscience, further described as philosophical or ethical reasons. 

“To claim an exclusion for reasons of conscience or a religious belief, individuals must complete documentation affirming a sincerely held belief, acknowledging the risk of serious illness, and agreeing to comply with health and safety requirements to best protect the community and themselves—including testing—for unvaccinated individuals,” Crawford wrote in his email.

Exemption forms will be available within the next two weeks, Crawford said.

Exemption requests will be reviewed by the Division of Student Life and the office of Enrollment Management for students and staff, the office of Human Resources for staff and the office of Academic Personnel for faculty.

Students who are pregnant or nursing, or those who have had COVID-19 within 90 days preceding Oct. 25, can be granted a vaccination deferral.

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Crawford’s email includes a link for those who want more information and a web form to submit questions. 

At yesterday’s University Senate meeting, Provost Jason Osborne said about 75% of students are already vaccinated against COVID-19, and only about 1% of students have opted out of other required vaccinations.  

Students without an approved exemption who do not receive their first dose by the Oct. 25 deadline will be unable to register for the spring classes, attend in-person classes or use on-campus facilities after Jan. 2. 

Osborne said this policy is in line with standard K-12 education vaccine policies in Ohio that have been in place for the last 40 years. 

Employees who do not comply with the vaccine mandate will face “disciplinary action.”

Photo by Provided to The Miami Student | The Miami Student

Provost Jason Osborne shared an updated COVID-19 vaccine policy at the Aug. 30 University Senate meeting outlining a vaccine mandate for all students and employees. There will be religious and medical exemptions as well as a conscientious objection clause.

When asked about the standards for approving exemptions, Osborne was uncertain about how the procedure would be implemented. 

He said that people may have dearly held beliefs about the vaccine that may stem from misinformation.

“Even if it’s factually inaccurate, we believe a lot of things that are factually inaccurate,” Osborne said. “We sometimes make life decisions based on those false beliefs, but we’re not going to judge people’s philosophical or ethical decisions.”

Regarding future outbreaks and the status of those who are unvaccinated, concerns were raised about the possibility of students being sent home again. 

“We’re not looking to discriminate against people based on vaccination status,” Osborne said. “But there may be some consequences to these decisions, and those are unpredictable.” 

Free vaccines are available to members of the Miami community inside the Armstrong Student Center. The COVID-19 vaccination clinic is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, with no appointment necessary. 

Additionally, all students and employees (and spouses/dependents of at least 12 years) can get a free COVID-19 vaccine through Health Services on the Oxford campus.