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Student organization speaks out against U of I vaccination mandate

A student organization is calling out an Illinois university for requiring proof of vaccination this fall.

Despite a directive from the governor that removed a requirement for institutions of higher learning to implement a vaccine mandate, the University of Illinois announced that its three campus locations will continue to require students and faculty to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Students and faculty at campuses in Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and Chicago will be required to receive the vaccine or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

“Throughout the pandemic, measures we have taken to mitigate against the virus that causes COVID-19 have made our three universities among the safest places to be. These measures, particularly vaccination, remain our best protections,” U of I President Tim Killeen said in a letter to students and faculty.

The student activist group Young Americans for Liberty is critical of the mandate.

“It’s completely unfair,” YAL chief of staff Sean Themea told The Center Square. “College students have been subjected to some of the most unfair COVID restrictions throughout this whole pandemic.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently loosened COVID-19 protocols for quarantining and schools. The new guidance said people who have been exposed to the virus and are not showing symptoms do not have to be quarantined, regardless of vaccination status. Rather, the recommendation is for that person to wear a mask for 10 days, and test for the virus at least five days from their exposure.

Most other universities around Illinois have relaxed COVID-19 protocols. At Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, vaccines are “highly recommended,” but not required to be on campus. Masking will be recommended as well, but not required, in most areas.

Northwestern University in Evanston is keeping its vaccination mandate in place this school year.

“We should all have the right to choose whether or not to take the vaccine,” said Themea. “That shouldn’t preclude somebody from getting an education.”

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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