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Rutgers, Johns Hopkins end COVID vaccine mandates

About 48 universities still required vaccinations in March

Two big East Coast universities just ended their COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students and employees.

Rutgers University in New Jersey and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland both dropped the requirement this week. Their decisions came after a March report by The College Fix listed the schools and more than 40 others that still mandated vaccines.

“As of April 1, 2024, Rutgers no longer requires students, faculty, staff, and university affiliates to be immunized against the COVID-19 virus,” the university website states.

Rutgers also welcomes individuals to wear face coverings, but it does not require them, according to its website.

Lucia Sinatra, co-founder of No College Mandates, which tracks COVID-19 vaccine requirements on campuses, expressed surprise at the news.

The Defender reports:

Sinatra, who has been actively advocating for the removal of college vaccine mandates, was taken aback by Rutgers’ sudden change in policy.

“We had no warning whatsoever,” said Sinatra, who stayed in regular contact with the university. “In fact, we just kept hearing, ‘This COVID-19 mandate is never going to go away.’” […]

“From what I’m hearing from parents, from the noise that we’re making on social media, there are families that are completely taking these colleges off their list because these mandates were in place for so long,” she said.

Political pressure also may have been a factor in the decision.

In early March, New Jersey Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said the fact that Rutgers still had the mandate was “absurd and irrational.” The Republican lawmaker advocated for cutting off the university’s funding if it did not change.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins also ended its mandate on April 1. The requirement is gone for most students, faculty, and staff, but there are exceptions for individuals in the schools of medicine and nursing, according to the university website.

The university also still “strongly recommends that all students, staff, and faculty” be vaccinated for the virus.

“COVID-19 remains a serious illness, and we must continue to be diligent to prevent the spread of the virus,” it states. “… Those who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines have lower risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated or have received only the primary series.”

In early March, the Centers for Disease Control loosened protocols for the virus. The CDC now recommends a 24-hour isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19, down from five days.

Others, including Harvard University, Montclair State University in New Jersey, Santa Clara University in California, and St. Mary’s College of California, also ended their COVID vaccine mandates after the CDC announcement.

Last summer, nearly 100 schools still required COVID-19 vaccines, The Fix reported at the time.

MORE: Unvaccinated Rutgers student claims he is barred from attending virtual class

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.