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Utah Board of Higher Education issues letter to college presidents on COVID-19 vaccinations

Utah System of Higher Education

The Utah Board of Higher Education issued a letter on Aug. 27, 2021, encouraging USHE college and university presidents to consider requiring COVID-19 vaccines on their campuses under current legislation. Based on the needs of their region and campuses, USHE institutions will make individual determinations regarding the requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Board issued the following letter to USHE college and university presidents: 

August 27, 2021

Re: Student COVID-19 Vaccinations

Dear Presidents,

Thank you for your tireless efforts to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while providing students with exceptional educational and research opportunities. We share the common value that student safety and wellness should always be a top priority on our campuses, and we should use all available resources to further that value.

In Utah, public colleges and universities may require students to receive vaccinations as a condition of enrollment if students are provided the option to opt-out of this requirement for medical, religious, or personal reasons. This year, the Legislature passed H.B. 233, Education Immunization Modifications, which authorizes higher education institutions to require vaccinations as a condition of enrollment, provided the exemptions listed above are included. The Board views vaccinations as an effective method to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our campuses open. As you evaluate the needs of your campus and region, we encourage you to consider requiring COVID-19 vaccinations—free of charge—for your students.

Expanding COVID-19 vaccinations among college populations will allow us to keep campuses open for in-person instruction, provide a safer environment for the campus community, and help ensure that our state’s economy remains open and vibrant in the months ahead.

Thank you for your ongoing support of higher education.

Sincerely,

Harris H. Simmons

Chair, Utah Board of Higher Education