Kent State, U Akron Require COVID-19 Vaccines For Students And Staff

Kent State Uniersity at dusk with a tree in the foreground, and a light wind blowing.
Kent State has given students and staff until Dec. 20 to get vaccinated. [Mary Fecteau / Ideastream Public Media]

Updated: 5:17 p.m., Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Kent State University is mandating all students and staff get the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 20, the end of fall semester. University President Todd Diacon alerted the student community over an email Friday.   

“With the Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and its expected approval of the Moderna vaccine next month, we now have an official acknowledgment that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at stopping the spread of this deadly virus,” the email read.

KSU will consider exemptions for medical and religious/personal reasons.  

“While at this time the requirement covers students and all non-represented employees, we are currently engaged in positive and productive talks with the leadership for our union faculty and staff with the intent to include them as well,” the email reads.

Starting September 1, KSU will expand testing of unvaccinated students and staff. Unvaccinated students living in the dormitories are tested once a week.

The University of Akron is requiring students, faculty, contract professionals and staff to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 13 and to provide proof of vaccination. Exemptions will be made for medical reasons, religious beliefs or reasons of conscience.

Students who are not vaccinated and do not have an exemption granted by the university will not be able to enroll for the spring semester. Faculty, contract professionals and staff who are not vaccinated and do not have an exemption granted by the university will be subject to progressive discipline in keeping with university policy and collective bargaining agreements. 

Students and employees who are not vaccinated or have not reported their vaccination status yet will be tested weekly and are required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors when unable to maintain social distancing.

Kent State and the University of Akron’s mandates follow on the heels of The Ohio State University’s announcement earlier this week requiring all students and staff be vaccinated.

OSU’s mandate requires all students, faculty and staff have at least their first dose by Oct. 15. For vaccines requiring two doses, the second dose deadline is Nov. 15. 

Ohio State President Kristina Johnson cited the delta variant and the rising “number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations – including in young and otherwise healthy unvaccinated people” in the school's mandate decision.

Cleveland State University currently requires students who live on campus to be vaccinated.

WKSU's Abigail Bottar contributed to this report.

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