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AG Miyares: Virginia public universities can't require COVID-19 vaccinations for students

Jason Miyares
Steve Helber/AP
Virginia Attorney general Jason Miyares gestures as he is introduced in the Senate gallery at the Capitol Monday Jan. 17, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia’s public universities can’t mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their students as a condition of enrollment or in-person attendance.

That’s according to a new legal opinion from Attorney General Jason Miyares.

In the opinion, the new Republican AG says the General Assembly could enact such a requirement but hasn’t done so yet. Miyares goes on to say that the state legislature did authorize the public institutions to help with the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, but that didn't give them the ability to impose vaccination requirements.

It’s unclear if the opinion will prompt Virginia’s public universities to drop their mandates. Many of Virginia’s public colleges and universities have required students to get COVID-19 vaccinations, including Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Most of those public schools also had vaccination requirements for their employees. However, many workers for the institutions are considered state employees. And under an executive order from Governor Glenn Youngkin, state employees are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nick Gilmore is a meteorologist, news producer and reporter/anchor for RADIO IQ.