Ducey orders end to universities’ policies for unvaccinated students

People use a footbridge over University Avenue on the campus of Arizona State University on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. /AP Photo/Matt York

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Gov. Doug Ducey has forbade public universities and community colleges from requiring that students and staff wear masks and get tested regularly for Covid.

In an executive order Tuesday, the governor specifically lashed out at the policy announced by Arizona State University requiring that students be vaccinated before returning to class in the fall.

That policy is not absolute. But Ducey pointed out it says those who are not inoculated or choose not to share that information “will be subject to invasive restrictions such as daily health checks, twice weekly testing and mandated mask wearing.”

That, the governor said, is unacceptable.

“No person should be compelled to disclose to a governmental entity as a condition of attending classes, receiving services or participating in activities without a demonstrated compelling need,” he wrote in his executive order.

He acknowledged that Covid is “highly contagious.” But he said that it does not have the kind of transmission characteristics that would meet requirements for mandated vaccines.

And Ducey said while getting one of the vaccines that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration under its Emergency Use Authorization is “strongly encouraged, it is not and will not be mandated by the state of Arizona.”

Ducey’s new order affects more than ASU.

The University of Arizona has had a virtually identical policy, allowing non-vaccinated students on campus but only if they wear masks and get tested once a week.

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