The State University System of Florida Encourages Students to Get Vaccinated


The State University System of Florida (SUSF) released a letter encouraging students to get vaccinated prior to arriving on campus in August for the 2021 fall semester.

Although the letter does not require students to get vaccinated, the low vaccination rate in Florida and the rise in Delta variant cases have given university presidents the reason for concern.

The letter states, “We are excited to welcome you to our campuses next month! To help us provide high-quality classes, student services, extracurricular activities, and athletic programs in a healthy environment, we strongly recommend that all students get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before arriving on campus.” It adds, “Since the onset of the pandemic, our successes are a result of our campus communities accepting a shared responsibility for their health and well-being and practicing recommended precautions. Being vaccinated can protect your health and you are likely to avoid disruptions in your semester if you are exposed to COVID- 19.”

The letter is a recommendation rather than a requirement.

Governor DeSantis signed an executive order in April and then signed SB 2006 in May. The order and legislation banned businesses from requiring vaccine passports for entry or service.

As reported by The Florida Capital Star, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced in June an executive order that he signed to prevent the state’s public colleges and universities from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for its students. He said, “Public education is a public right, and taxpayers are paying for it. We need to make our public universities available for students to return to learning. They have already missed out on too much learning. From K-12 to higher education, Arizona is supporting in-person learning.”

In contrast to Florida and Arizona, California and New York are two states that have multiple institutions within their university systems that have made it a requirement for students to get vaccinated to attend in-person classes.

The California State University System that represents 18 universities stated on Tuesday, “Because of evolving circumstances, the university is announcing the pending requirement now without waiting for any further action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dates by which faculty, staff and students must certify vaccination will vary by campus due to differences in academic calendars, but all certifications must be completed no later than September 30.” The University of Southern California, a private institution, also adopted the vaccine requirement while also making it a requirement for unvaccinated students to be Covid tested twice a week to “have access to campus facilities.”

In May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the State University System of New York (SUNY) and the City University System of New York (CUNY), representing over 85 public institutions, will “require proof of vaccination for all students attending in-person classes this fall, and encouraged all private universities and colleges to adopt the same guidelines.”

With schools having different start dates in the fall, SUNY currently has a vaccination campaign on its website titled the “30 Day Vax Challenge.” The goal is to get students vaccinated by August 10. For both SUNY and CUNY institutions, students who are unvaccinated and plan on using campus facilities are required to submit a weekly Covid test and adhere to CDC guidelines such as wearing a mask and socially distancing.

The SUSF released the letter just over a week after the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said at a briefing that one in five new COVID-19 cases nationally come from the state of Florida. It was at that same briefing when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky labeled the new spike in COVID-19 cases as the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]







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