SOU reverses decision on vaccine requirements

ASHLAND, Ore. – Students attending Southern Oregon University this fall will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Just last month, SOU leadership said vaccines wouldn’t be required. However, the Ashland-based university issued the following statement on Thursday, May 13:

Southern Oregon University has joined the list of public and private universities in Oregon to require COVID-19 vaccinations next fall for all students and employees.

University leaders made the decision after engaging in conversations with various student and employee groups. Guidance from the governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority weighed into the decision, as did the growing number of peer universities opting to require vaccinations.

“With most of SOU’s courses returning to in-person for fall term, the implementation of a vaccination requirement is the best way to make our work and learning environment as safe as possible,” said SOU President Linda Schott. “

SOU’s decision followed similar decisions that have been announced in recent weeks by a number of Oregon’s public and private institutions. Well over 200 universities and colleges across the country have announced vaccination requirements for next fall.

President Schott noted that the process to determine the viability of requiring vaccines was built on conversations from students, faculty, administrators and others. “Many of our employee and student groups support requiring a vaccine in order to protect the health and safety of our university community and the communities we serve,” said Schott.

In making the announcement, Schott also noted that the university will recognize exceptions, consistent with state law. “We recognize that there are individuals with medical or religious reasons that preclude them from getting vaccinated. SOU will honor all exceptions legally required by state or federal law be they medical, religious, or otherwise,” she said.

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