Pitt deregisters unvaccinated students as W.Pa. universities grapple with COVID requirements

By Jordana Rosenfeld

PITTSBURGH— At the start of the 2022 spring semester, the University of Pittsburgh announced that it had “unenrolled” an unknown number of non-exempt, non-vaccinated students for refusing to take the COVID shot.

“The most successful and sustainable approach to keeping our community healthy and safe is one that uses vaccination as a condition for studying or working on our campuses,” the university said in a statement. a statement from December 2021 announcing the obligation to vaccinate.

“While we continue to work with those trying to achieve compliance, late last week non-compliant students were unenrolled from classes and lost access to Pitt buildings and certain IT functions,” Deputy Vice Chancellor for Communications David Seldin said in a statement on Tuesday. the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“Additionally, non-compliant employees lost access to Pitt buildings and certain IT resources,” Seldin said.

Unenrolled students can request a tuition refund and, if they choose to be vaccinated, will be allowed to re-enroll, the Tribune-Review reported.

January 11, Pitt reported 209 positive cases among students and 205 positive cases among faculty and staff since the university returned from winter break on January 4. The seven-day average and total number of positive cases for this period are significantly higher than those for two consecutive weeks from the previous semester.

Although Pitt is one of the first local universities to turn away non-exempt and unvaccinated individuals, it is not the only local university with a vaccination mandate.

Carnegie Mellon University’s vaccine policy resembles Pitt’s, requiring students, faculty and staff to provide proof of vaccination and a booster, if applicable, by Feb. 16.

However, an FAQ entry on the CMU website states that unvaccinated students who have not received an exemption are allowed to attend school provided they complete a daily online self-assessment, participate in the CMU’s weekly tartan testing program and wear a mask.

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“Individuals who have not received an approved waiver or uploaded their vaccination information will receive automated reminders of their requirement to complete the Daily Self-Assessment (DSA), participate in the Tartan Test and to wear a face mask,” the CMU website reads. “Participation in the DSA and tartan tests will be monitored and those who do not comply will receive follow-up from the university.”

A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Duquesne University has not banned unvaccinated students or employees from returning to campus, spokesman Kenneth Walters told the Tribune-Review. However, the university requires all students to test negative for COVID 48 hours before arriving on campus.

“We have also instituted a flexible 10-day arrival period, to ensure students have time to do what is necessary to get home safely,” he said. According to Walters, almost all (99%) of Duquesne students are in compliance with the university’s vaccination policy, as are 93% of employees.

The administration of Wolf is focused on coordinating the federal aid against COVID-19, not in a state-level mandate

Point Park University’s chief marketing and public relations officer, Lou Corsaro, said in an email to Pittsburgh City Paper that COVID vaccines are mandatory for students, although they can request a medical or religious exemption. Corsaro also wrote that the university is preparing for the Biden administration’s vaccine or test mandate, which he said would impact Point Park faculty and staff.

Chatham University was one of the first local schools to announce its vaccination mandate, vice president of marketing and communications Bill Campbell said. city ​​paper in an email. They also made some changes to their COVID protocol in order to deal with the omicron surge, Campbell said.

At the start of the semester, Chatham required entrance tests for all students, whereas previously they had been limited to the unvaccinated. The university has also decided to hold most classes online and only offer takeout at its restaurants until Tuesday, January 18.

Jordana Rosenfeld is a reporter for the Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.

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