Some universities across the country and even in state have decided to require a COVID-19 vaccine before returning for the fall semester, the University of Minnesota won't be one of them.

In a letter sent to students, faculty and staff from University President Joan Gabel, she says that they will not require a COVID-19 vaccine at any of the five campuses around the state, saying "it is challenging to address everyone’s individual circumstance through any single University-wide approach. Vaccination is no different. It is a complex and personal issue."

She says many factors helped guide her in this decision including advice from public health officials, the eventual authorization for COVID-19 vaccines for use on children ages 5 - 11 later this year, infection and vaccination rates of towns surrounding each campus, its own health experts, and by consulting with staff and students.

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The university says it will put its "full weight behind access to vaccines and information about the benefits of vaccination." In a recent survey of Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff, they found that a whopping 96% of respondents said that they have gotten at least one vaccine dose or reported plans to be vaccinated, while 84% said they are fully vaccinated.

Gabel says that the University will respect individual choices, saying some may make the decision not to be vaccinated for medical, religious, or other reasons. Additionally, she says that they will respect privacy and not ask individuals to disclose their vaccination status to other students, instructors, or coworkers.

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