BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University's COVID-19 vaccine mandate remains in place, but the school will no longer require students, faculty and staff to provide proof they received the shot.
The university announced Tuesday that rather than being required to upload documentation, people on campus can instead certify their status via an online form that will be available beginning Wednesday.
IU will offer special incentives for students and employees who upload documentation. Officials said in a news release that details on the incentive program will be announced later this week.
The change comes after the university received criticism from some students, employees and politicians following the May 21 announcement that people on all of IU's six campuses would be required to get the vaccine and provide proof.
"Requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for IU students, faculty and staff with appropriate exemptions continues the university's comprehensive science and public health-driven approach to managing and mitigating the pandemic on our campuses," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a statement. "Throughout the pandemic our paramount concern has been ensuring the health and safety of the IU community. This requirement will make a 'return to normal' a reality for the fall semester."
On May 21, IU officials announced all students, staff and faculty would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine before school begins in the fall. Thousands of students and staff members signed a petition protesting the move. Nineteen state Republican lawmakers and Attorney General Todd Rokita also publicly objected.
Rokita issued a non-binding opinion that said the requirement that students and staff submit vaccine documentation violated a new state law banning units of government from requiring what are known as "vaccine passports."
The university defended its new policy as legal, now they are making changing changes as they also announced that most of the campus' rules on masks and social distancing will be gone for the fall semester.
Those changes include:
- Wearing a mask on campus will be optional for students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated. People who are exempt from the vaccine requirement or who are not yet fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask on campus, officials said.
- Campus facilities, such as classrooms, housing, dining halls and recreation areas will return to pre-pandemic capacities with no physical distancing required. Classes will be held in-person with typical classroom settings.
- People working in on-campus childcare facilities will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing because young children are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The university will not require students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated to participate in COVID-19 mitigation testing, but they will be asked to participate in surveillance testing to monitor for outbreaks. People who are exempt from the vaccine requirement or not yet full vaccinated will continue with mitigation testing.
- People who are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are a close contact of someone with a positive COVID-19 test. Those who test positive will need to isolate for 10 days or until symptoms improve and they are fever-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer, the university said. Students, faculty and staff will be required to comply with contact tracing.
- Proposals for large events with 250 or more people will be required to go through a review process, and the university recommends large events be held outdoors when possible. People attending large indoor events with non-IU attendees will be required to wear a mask.
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