VT Drops Controversial Vax Mandate

In the face of gathering opposition and a changing political climate, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands announced today, on January 31, that he has dropped the vaccine mandate for students to attend in-person instruction at VT, effective immediately.

As reported here last Friday, January 28, Virginia’s newly-inaugurated Attorney General Jason Miyares issued his opinion that only the General Assembly can make a law requiring a vaccine mandate, and that no university leadership has that authority. Furthermore, Miyares’ opinion was a complete reversal of the policy of his predecessor, Mark Herring, who had called for such mandates but who failed in his re-election bid last November for a third term.

In addition to the new opinion issued in Richmond, grassroots opposition to the mandates was growing among the VT community. A private Facebook group “Virginia Tech Freedom of Choice” was nearly 500-strong and existed as a “support group who value medical freedom of choice for our Hokies,” according to their webpage.

Among the allegations that some found outrageous was a VT policy that forced people who had had Covid within the past 30 days to get the booster, despite other medical advice cautioning against that being done so soon after the illness. Moreover, some alleged that, without proof of a vaccine or booster, students were locked out of their university emails and online classes which seemed an excessively pejorative action given the evolving situation.

A request to President Sands’ office for a statement about these allegations has not been received as of publication time.

–Scott Dreyer

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