It has been pretty commonplace to see universities have COVID-19 vaccine mandates in place or for students to submit periodic negative test results.

That's for in-person students. But what about online students?

Well, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is ruffling some feathers by now mandating online students follow the same guidelines.

The university sent out a memo on Wednesday, October 13, stating that all ULM students must submit COVID-19 information or declaration of exemption by October 22 to avoid any issues with registration for the Spring 2022 semester. Those requests can be completed online.

However, as you can imagine, some students have mixed feelings about the new mandate.

ULM student Stacey told a local TV station, "I think that for online students they shouldn't have to be vaccinated because they're not near anybody. I don't think it's really necessary."

Another student, Pam Mundy, gave her thoughts, saying, "I personally think that it’s kind of unnecessary to make everyone have to do that because not a lot of people are comfortable and to make people do something, that’s uncomfortable that just goes against our free speech and free choice. I think online students that don’t come in person or even if they do come in person, shouldn’t have to get vaccinated because they’re not really around people.”

Now, there is a bit of confusion as to the severity of this policy towards online students. On the ULM website, the covid testing policy for students was updated and it states that on-campus COVID-19 testing will begin on October 18. It is for those students who have not been immunized against COVID-19.

It goes on to state the following:

The following students are exempt from the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement if they have submitted supporting documentation to the University:

  • Students who are fully vaccinated.
  • Students who have received their first dose of a two-dose vaccine AND intend to receive their second shot when scheduled.
  • Students who are completely off-campus, meaning they do not have any classes on campus, do not live on campus, and will not participate in on-campus activities/events. This includes dual enrollment students enrolled solely in online or off-campus courses.
  • Students who have tested positive within the previous 90 days.

So it seems that online students who are not vaccinated and submit supporting documentation will be good to go.

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