Higher-Ed Groups Assail Limits on Public-Health Authority as More Campuses Mandate Masks
The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 2, 2021
Higher-education organizations urged state-government officials on Monday to allow colleges and universities more authority to protect their campuses from a Covid-19 surge.
“An increasing number of states have restricted the ability of colleges and other organizations to deploy an evidence-based combination of strategies to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks on campus and in surrounding communities,” read the statement, co-signed by over two dozen groups including the American Council on Education and the American College Health Association. ”These restrictions undermine the ability of all organizations, including colleges and universities, to operate safely and fully at a time of tremendous unpredictability.”
Statewide bans on vaccination requirements, restricted use of masking, and limitations on Covid-19 surveillance testing could put campuses at risk as crowds of students return for the fall semester and the more-transmissible Delta variant accounts for a majority of Covid-19 cases.
According to NPR, nine states have passed laws targeting the use of vaccine mandates. Other states have seen executive orders covering similar ground. Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, signed an executive order prohibiting the state’s public colleges from requiring students to be vaccinated, submit to Covid tests, or wear masks.