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Minnesota State's colleges and universities to require vaccines for certain groups

On-campus residents and athletes will be among those required to provide proof of vaccination, or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota State system of colleges and universities will require vaccinations for certain groups this fall, but not for all students.

Chancellor Devinder Malhotra informed the Minnesota State leadership council of the new policy in a memo Wednesday.

According to the memo, proof of vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for:

  • Students living in college or university-owned residence facilities
  • Students participating in intercollegiate athletics
  • Students required to vaccinate by their clinical or internship sites

Each college or university can also decide whether to require vaccinations or testing for other extra-curricular groups, based on contact levels and social distancing available for the activity.

Colleges and universities in the Minnesota State system are urged to begin the new protocols as soon as possible, and no later than Oct. 4, according to the memo.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, our two priorities have been protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and supporting our students as they continue progress towards their educational goals. With the beginning of the academic year approaching, we are taking additional steps with these priorities in mind," Chancellor Malhotra said in a statement to KARE 11. "Our approach recognizes that Minnesota State is a complex system of colleges and universities with diverse and unique student populations and educational goals. Many of our colleges and universities do not have the health infrastructure to deliver on a vaccine mandate in a timely and effective manner. A broad vaccine mandate will impose unintended barriers to student success."

Malhotra's memo said Minnesota State strongly encourages all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We will continue to be nimble and flexible as the pandemic evolves, stress the importance of vaccinations to ensuring an uninterrupted academic experience, increase awareness of the benefits and reduce barriers associated with the vaccine, and have in place appropriate safety protocols with minimal burdens on our students," Malhotra said.

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