CEDAR CITY, Utah — Southern Utah University will not require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Cedar City-based university announced late Friday it made the decision after consulting with students, staff and others in the community.
"Based on our ongoing conversations with campus leadership, as well as with public health officials, local leaders, and members of the state legislature, one thing is very clear: this is a complicated issue! While we all share a common goal of health and safety, there are differing opinions and factors to consider in how we best reach that goal," the university said in a blog post on its website. "Due to these added complexities and additional conversations, we have determined it would not be prudent for our institution–at this time–to implement a vaccine requirement for students. Circumstances, available health solutions, and what is permitted under COVID-related laws may change. This is an evolving pandemic, and we will continue to evaluate all of this and engage with public health officials and our campus community."
SUU officials said they strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated and planned vaccine clinics on campus throughout October.
"We also plead with you to wear masks indoors and in classroom settings. We know the best way to remain open and keep campus safe is to follow public health guidelines, including vaccination, mask usage, testing, social-distancing, and proper health hygiene," the university said.
SUU is breaking with a number of colleges and universities across Utah that have imposed vaccine requirements after a change in Utah law allowed it to happen. So far, all of Utah State University's campuses, Weber State University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College are requiring the vaccine.
Dixie State University in St. George has also said it will not require vaccination to attend classes.