Tuesday, September 28, 2021

MSU offers clarification on COVID-19 vaccine verification, exemptions, punishments

August 16, 2021
Michigan State student Maddie Monroe sets an appointment to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on her phone, while waiting to leave Sparrow Laboratories Sears vaccine location on Mar. 29, 2021.
Michigan State student Maddie Monroe sets an appointment to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on her phone, while waiting to leave Sparrow Laboratories Sears vaccine location on Mar. 29, 2021. —
Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Michigan State will do random checks of students’ COVID-19 vaccination status throughout the year to ensure that students were truthful in reporting their vaccination status on top of its initial verification, according to MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen. 

Olsen said Michigan State will also follow up on any tips submitted to the MSU misconduct hotline regarding students possibly submitting false vaccine information. 

Students that are found to have faked their vaccine verification will go to the student conduct system and “disciplinary measures will be taken as appropriate,” Olsen said.

Associate Provost Mark Largent suggested in a now-deleted tweet on Aug. 3 that MSU could suspend or expel students and will use the state vaccination database for reference. Olsen confirmed that suspension or expulsion is possible and punishment will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

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“The consequences that come with each case would be reviewed by the Dean of Students Office and sanctions would be recommended by them,” Olsen said. 

Students wishing to fill out an exemption form and return to campus without the COVID-19 vaccine have until Aug. 31 to complete the form. Students filing for exemption are still required to fill out the vaccine verification form and indicate they are pursuing an exemption.

Students may gain exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for medical or religious reasons, or if they are remaining in online courses. There will be a review committee for each type of exemption that will approve or deny a student’s exemption request. 

“There's a review committee for each exemption type,” Olsen said. “So review committee for religious, for medical and for the online learning with no coming into campus for any reason this semester. So those committees will review, individually, the exemptions that come into them and respond to those individuals and communicate whether or not their exemption is granted or denied.”

Students that are pursuing an exemption must enroll in MSU’s COVID-19 Early Detection program and remain enrolled if their exemption is approved. Students that have their exemption denied must get the COVID-19 vaccine or cease coming onto MSU’s campus, according to MSU’s exemption website.

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