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Federal appeals court rules to not block IU’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement while case plays out in court


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) — A federal appeals court ruled to allow IU's vaccine requirement to continue while an appeal plays out in court.

The ruling found that since universities can already require surrendering property or requiring students to read or write about certain things, it was "hard to see a greater problem with medical conditions that help all students remain safe while learning."

The federal appeals court found that it would be hard for a university to function when "each student fears that everyone else may be spreading disease."

IU will not require documentation that students, faculty and staff have received the COVID-19 vaccine by the fall semester. IU is still requiring everyone working or enrolled at any of its campuses to be vaccinated.

The change in requiring documentation comes after state lawmakers and Indiana's attorney general said it violates a new state law banning immunization passports by the government.

Those who have received the vaccine can certify their status as part of an attestation form. Students, faculty and staff found to be lying could face punishment.  

People can apply for medical or religious reasons, or for an online exemption for those not present on or near campus. The university will be able to decide whether or not to grant an exemption. Exemptions details are included in the form. IU's Medical Response Team and other designated IU leaders will review exemption requests, responding within five business days.

Wearing a mask on campus will be optional for those students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated. There will also be no social distancing requirements for those who are fully vaccinated.

Students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated will not need to participate in mitigation testing. Those who are fully vaccinated will also not need to quarantine if they are in close contact with a person who is later found to have COVID-19.

13News reached out to the attorney representing the students, as well as an IU spokesperson about the court's decision on the injunction, and is waiting to hear back.

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