Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Tuesday an executive order that will prevent the state’s public colleges and universities from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for its students.
The executive order comes in response to Arizona State University informing its students that they “expect” students to return to campus in the fall fully vaccinated. Further, individuals who choose not to receive the coronavirus vaccine would be subjected to a mask requirement and weekly testing.
Ducey’s order prevents each of the requirements laid out by the university. Not only does it prohibit mandating vaccination, it also states that students cannot be mandated to be tested or wear masks in order to participate in learning.
However, it does not prevent colleges and universities from encouraging vaccinations, providing testing, or having voluntary mask usage.
“The vaccine works, and we encourage Arizonans to take it. But it is a choice and we need to keep it that way,” Ducey said of his decision.
Some colleges and universities have moved to mandate vaccination for students who desire to return to in-person learning during the upcoming fall semester. However, many critics point out that many students will receive the coronavirus vaccine without a mandate in place. Further, studies demonstrate that the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during in-person learning is low.
Ducey explained his reasoning behind the order. He said, “Public education is a public right, and taxpayers are paying for it. We need to make our public universities available for students to return to learning. They have already missed out on too much learning. From K-12 to higher education, Arizona is supporting in-person learning.”
Ducey is working with members of the Arizona state legislature to “codify” the executive order, according to his office.
— — —