University of Minnesota to require COVID-19 vaccine for students once it gets FDA approval

The University of Minnesota will require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it receives full FDA approval, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks, according to a letter from University President Joan Gabel.

Gabel said the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of immunizations already required for students, with some exemptions. Details for the timing and grace period for getting the vaccine, on how to report vaccinations, and the consequences for non-compliance will be released later. 

"With the comfort associated with FDA approval, we will join a growing list of public colleges and universities across the country that are taking a similar approach, including, but not limited to, Michigan State University, Purdue University, the University of Florida, and many of the nation’s leading private colleges, including many in Minnesota," Gabel said in a statement. 

Many students are in support of the decision and say they are eager to get back in the classroom, no matter what it takes.

"It’s reassuring to know that they’re taking steps to put an end to the virus," said student Gabriel Tratz.

Several private colleges and universities in Minnesota, including the University of St. Thomas, Hamline University and the College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University have announced they will require students to get the vaccine to attend classes on campus this fall.

VACCINE REQUIREMENTS: A list of Minnesota colleges and universities' policies

The decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine requirements shared governance consultations and Board of Regents approval. The U of M is holding a virtual town hall on Aug. 18 for faculty, students and staff to submit questions about the university's updated vaccine plan. 

In the meantime, the U of M is continuing to require students to get the vaccine as soon as possible. 

Last week, the university reinstated its indoor mask mandate for everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, as the more easily transmissible delta variant continues to cause a surge in COVID-19 infections nationwide.