MILWAUKEE — In a letter to students, Marquette University announced its requirement for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-22 academic year.
In the letter from MU President Dr. Michael Lovell, it was announced that undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who will be attending classes for the upcoming school year will need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Aug. 1.
"I am very pro-vaccine, so I think it's a good idea unless you have some kind of religious or health reasons not to do it. I think there's no reason why you shouldn't," said rising senior, Lauren Nelson.
"This decision was made after consulting with health experts, and it has been endorsed by the university’s COVID-19 Response Team, the University Academic Senate Executive Committee, the Staff Senate and the Graduate Student Organization. University leadership also consulted with the Marquette University Student Government Executive Board before making this decision, and will be continuing to work alongside them as well as other student leaders to ensure that all students’ needs and interests are fully represented and supported," wrote Lovell.
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The university will allow students to request an exemption from the vaccine requirement due to medical or religious reasons. Those who are granted an exemption will undergo testing for COVID-19.
"Scientific evidence has shown that vaccines are safe and effective at reducing transmission of the virus. A vaccinated student population will allow us to provide you with a richer-in-person experience, reduce testing and let you interact more freely across campus," said Lovell.
"If everyone gets vaccinated, it's really the best bet they have, the more things you can do as a community," said rising junior Cole Reckamp.
But not everyone sees it that way.
"I feel like it may violate some students' autonomy," said second-year graduate student, Emma Lagger.
Lisa Schumacher says her son is a rising senior at Marquette. But now that the university is requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, she's not sure if he'll stay.
"Our son is about 30 credits shy of a double major and minor. And upon hearing this news today, I'm not really sure where this is going to take us. I don't think it's fair for anybody to force a vaccine on anybody," said Schumacher.
Taking a closer look: Marquette University is now one of two other universities in Wisconsin, including Beloit College and Lawrence University, so far requiring students to be vaccinated against COIVD-19.
However, faculty and staff will not be required to be vaccinated. The university says on its website transmission is more likely among shared spaces where students live and gather. But Marquette still encourages employees to get the vaccine, following CDC guidance.
"I think if they're going to require students to get vaccinated, they should also require the same of their faculty and staff," said Schumacher.
"I hope they give students who don't want to be vaccinated a virtual option, if that's the case," said Lagger.
Faculty and staff members who are enrolled in classes at Marquette will be required to be vaccinated.
Students will need to provide proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccination card online.
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