Mississippi College Board votes against system-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) in Mississippi voted against mandating students and employees to show proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or enrollment at a special emergency called meeting on Friday.

“The Board of Trustees strongly recommends all eligible students and employees within the university system get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. J. Walt Starr, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. “The vaccine is clearly the best protection against COVID-19 infections, transmissions, and has been medically reviewed and approved by our country’s leading scientific experts. However, the Board does not deem it prudent to require it as a condition of employment or enrollment, except at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and other clinical settings.”

Leaders on the board said they’re following the recommendations from the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), which strongly recommends eligible students get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In keeping with MSDH guidance, all universities require masks to be worn indoors and they are requiring students and employees who have symptoms or have had contact with someone who has tested positive to self-isolate and make an appointment to be tested.

“The Board will continue to monitor the situation on our campuses and make appropriate adjustments and exceptions necessary to assist our universities during these very difficult times,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr. Commissioner of Higher Education.

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