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St. Edwards becomes one of the first universities in nation to require COVID-19 vaccine this fall for in-person activities

St. Edwards is one of a handful of universities across the country to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students and faculty on campus.

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE – St. Edwards University, a small, private university in Austin with about 4,300 students, is one of a few universities in the country so far requiring students and employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine for the fall semester if they need to return in person.

According to a campus announcement late last month, people can opt out of the vaccine requirement for religious, medical or personal reasons. But they must obtain a notarized exemption document, as is needed for other required vaccines such as the meningitis shot.

If students don’t comply or submit exemption documentation by Sept. 1, they will not be able to live on campus or have access to campus facilities, and will be limited in what courses they can take.

According to the university’s website, officials are planning for more in-person activities this fall, including most classes. Dormitories will be open but limited to one student per room.

Across the country, at least four other colleges and universities have instituted similar vaccination mandates, including Rutgers University in New Jersey, a public university, and Cornell University in New York, which is private.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that would prevent all government agencies, including public universities, from instituting COVID-19 requirements for services. The order also applies to organizations that receive public money.

Neither the governor’s office nor a university spokesperson immediately responded to requests for comment about whether this order could affect St. Edwards.

This story originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

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The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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