BREAKING: Public universities reverse student vaccine mandate after new AG says requirement violates state law

At least two public universities in Virginia have reversed COVID vaccine requirements after the new Attorney General said public schools could not mandate the shots for students.

The attorney general had concluded that 'public institutions of higher education in Virginia may not require vaccination against COVID-19.'

As of today, Virginia Tech and George Mason University have replaced their student vaccine requirements with language encouraging vaccination following Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ recent statement that public universities in Virginia cannot mandate students to get the shot.

Miyares published his legal opinion Jan. 26, concluding that mandating the vaccine for students is not in keeping with Virginia law absent of approval from lawmakers.

Miyares explained that since the state legislature has yet to pass legislation that authorizes public schools to mandate the vaccine, those institutions have no such authority.

”Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine,” he writes, ”the legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements.” 

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Miyares also clarified that the General Assembly does have the authority to require vaccines if they so choose, and often has in the case of diphtheria, polio, tetanus, measles, and more. However, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, no such legislation has been passed nor authorization granted.

“’[T]here is no question that the General Assembly could enact a statute requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for in-person school attendance...’ As of this writing, it has not done so,” he wrote.

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For these reasons, Miyares stated that ”absent specific authority conferred by the General Assembly, public institutions of higher education in Virginia may not require vaccination against COVID19 as a general condition of students’ enrollment or in-person attendance.”

Campus Reform has been monitoring colleges and universities across the country mandating vaccines and boosters. 

Campus Reform is currently monitoring Virginia public universities that may follow suit and will provide updates to this developing story.

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