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Law School Sued by Student Over COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

A law student is suing his school over its COVID-19 vaccine and health protocols.

George Artem, a New England Law Boston student, filed a federal court claim against the law school in early June over COVID-19 policies that require him to wear a mask, socially distance from others, and submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccine, the ABA Journal reports.

According to the complaint, Artem claims that the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and states that law students should have a right to refuse the vaccines.

MOST COLLEGES WILL REQUIRE VACCINE CERTIFICATION

537 colleges will require that students or employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a report by The Chronicle. As of June 23, New England Law Boston does not have any official COVID-19 vaccination requirement stated on its website. The law school does, however, require immunizations against diseases such as tetanus, measles, and hepatitis B.

Experts say that vaccination against COVID-19 is the ‘easiest way’ for a return to campus in the Fall.

“It’s really about trying to get students back in the classroom, and the easiest way to do it is to have more people vaccinated. But I think other schools are thinking about it more from an individual student’s perspective, and autonomy rights,” Ruqaiijah Yearby, a Saint Louis University School of Law professor whose academic work focuses on health care regulation, tells the ABA Journal.

Legally, schools and businesses are allowed to require COVID-19 vaccination – even if the vaccines are only approved for “emergency use.”

Jefferey Nolan, a senior counsel education and employment lawyer with Holland & Knight, says that colleges and universities won’t likely face any legal prohibitions that would prevent them from requiring their students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Nolan does, however, say that accommodations will need to be made for disabilities and religious beliefs.

“Basically, there’s the idea that people choose as a matter of personal integrity what they want to introduce into their bodies, but they also need to understand there may be compromises people make if they want to enter certain communities. No college is saying you have to get the vaccine, but if you want to be part of the community, you have to be vaccinated,” Nolan tells the ABA Journal.

Sources: ABA Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post

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