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ISU To Require Coronavirus Testing For Unvaccinated Students

Students sitting on grass on ISU Quad
Illinois State University
Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said the university will require COVID testing for unvaccinated students during the fall term.

Illinois State University will require periodic coronavirus testing in the fall for students who are not vaccinated, according to new guidance released by the school.

ISU President Larry Dietz said the university is still holding off on requiring vaccination in the absence of action by the governor, Board of Higher Education, or state Department of Public Health.

"The level of conversation has certainly intensified. I think there are a lot of folks who are vaccinated who would want other people to be vaccinated as well. And I think that population would like us to require all of that," Dietz said on Wednesday.

The list of colleges and universities that require students to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend on-campus classes in the fall has grown to 449, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Just two months ago, that number was one: Rutgers.

Dietz said even if ISU were to require vaccinations, there would have to be exemptions for religious, philosophical, or medical reasons.

"Probably it will be challenged somewhere someplace by somebody in court for those organizations that are making those requirements. So, we're still letting this evolve," said Dietz, adding ISU strongly encourages vaccination for faculty, staff, and students.

The university will offer more information on the frequency of required testing for unvaccinated students later this summer. The testing will be free of charge.

“All students are expected to provide evidence of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination” to be exempt from testing, according to the university guidance.

“Members of the University community should feel free to continue to wear face coverings without judgement. It is appropriate for an individual who chooses to wear a face covering for personal health reasons to ask others to be respectful of this choice and to wear a face covering and/or practice social distancing in their presence,” said the university statement.

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