KU and K-State to require employee COVID-19 vaccinations by December 8

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Employees at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University now face a COVID-19 vaccine requirement with a December 8 deadline.

Word came down through the Kansas Board of Regents which said that the Kansas universities must follow President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal contractors.

The requirement will not impact students unless they work for the university.

Earlier in the school year there was some pressure on KU to make more aggressive vaccination policies for school safety.

But this decision was made – according to a statement from KU Chancellor Doug Girod – to retain federal contracts.”

FOX4s connected with Jayhawk senior Sophie Kunin in September as she protested for both mask and vaccination requirements out of concern for public health.

“It ended up with everyone in the media saying ‘president of the coalition’ even though I was the only one doing it,” she said Friday, reflecting on her efforts.

She also says her efforts rose awareness and in some way played into expanded masking rules currently in place at the university.

But she says the announced vaccine requirement for KU employees has little to do with her voice.

“The university takes everything as a political issue and only take the steps needed when they must,” Kunin said.

This is a portion of KU Chancellor Doug Girod’s statement on the requirement: “Ku participates in millions of dollars in federal contracts that fund research, employment and educational efforts all of which are at risk if we are not aligned with the executive order. For this reason we cannot be flexible with employees who choose not to comply with the vaccine requirement.”

On campus Friday, students has mixed and mild reactions.

“If they’re healthy and they think that they can deem themselves fit to not get it then why should they have to get it,” KU student Caden Wyles said.

“There are situations where I feel like it could be reassuring to know that though it’s not something that – I have to admit – is really on my mind a lot just because sometimes it is more comforting to assume,” KU Senior Naomi Madu said.

However, Kunin said that she feels the decision is being made, but not being owned.

“The university wants more people to come in and not have to consider ‘Oh, am I a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer? Do I want to send my kid to a school where they are requiring vaccinations?'” Kunin said.

“You know, the university is taking a political stance and a funding stance,” Kunin said.

The statement Chancellor Girod also says that KU will continue to address discrepancies between state law and federal law. Currently Kansas law bans state funded institutions from requiring vaccine passports.

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