Two Virginia universities drop vaccine mandates after Gov. Youngkin’s orders

Two Virginia Universities – Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Virginia State University (VSU) have removed their vaccine requirement for faculty and staff after newly sworn in Governor Youngkin’s orders.

The University wrote:

Dear VCU faculty and staff,

On Jan. 15, Governor Youngkin issued executive orders and directives regarding COVID-19. Similar to what is taking place at other Virginia colleges and universities, VCU has decided the following changes will go into effect immediately.

Employees are not required to be vaccinated, receive a booster or to report their vaccination status to the university. COVID-19 surveillance testing and daily health checks are also no longer required for VCU employees.

Employees who are dually employed with VCU Health System must continue to follow health system vaccination requirements.

At the end of our fall semester, more than 97 percent of faculty and staff were vaccinated and more than 95 percent of students were vaccinated. With the concurrence of our Public Health Response Team, VCU strongly encourages vaccination and boosters. Unvaccinated individuals are more likely to become infected and hospitalized compared to those who are vaccinated. Vaccinated-yet unboosted individuals are also at risk for breakthrough infection and possible hospitalization.

Speaking to The Hill, a Virginia State University spokesperson said “we are not dropping the vaccine requirement for students. However, in compliance with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Directive Number Two issued on Jan. 15, 2022, Virginia State University (VSU) will no longer require employees to be fully vaccinated, report their vaccination status or undergo testing as a term of employment.”