Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Tuesday issued an executive order that bans public universities and community colleges from requiring COVID-19 tests, vaccines and masks for students to participate in learning. The move comes days after Ducey slammed a recent announcement from Arizona State University outlining COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year.
“The vaccine works and we encourage the Arizonans to take it. But it’s a choice and we have to keep it that way,” Ducey said in a statement. “Public education is a public right, and taxpayers pay for it. We need to make our public universities available to students to return to learning. They have already missed too much learning.
This week, Arizona State University vice president of student services Joanne Vogel told students in an email that those who have received an authorized COVID vaccine and have uploaded their immunization records through a portal academics will no longer have to wear face masks on campus. The university said unvaccinated students will be screened for COVID testing and face coverings will continue to be a requirement, along with daily health checkup downloads online.
“As Sun Devils, we are committed to being a part of the ASU care community where we care for ourselves, others and our community,” Vogel said in the email. “Managing COVID-19 is both a matter of personal responsibility and public health, and we ask that you follow all protocols that apply to our collective well-being. “
Ducey mentionned that the Arizona state fall protocols were “bad policy with no public health foundation.” He tweeted a quote from Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she said: are protected. ”
“Even the Biden administration has been more reasonable,” tweeted Ducey, who is a Republican.
Travis Graham, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, said Tuesday the university’s policy was “blatantly discriminatory” against unvaccinated students and called for Vogel’s dismissal. “It is important that this tyrannical policy does not prevent any Arizona from accessing our state university system,” Graham said in a statement. “For this reason, I am calling today for the immediate cancellation of the policy.”
A spokesperson for the university told CBS News that the state of Arizona will comply with the governor’s order and change its previous protocols.
“This week, we briefed our students on what to expect when they return to campus for the fall semester. We have not communicated a vaccination mandate. students a choice in the matter, ”said the school. “And, we communicated a continuation of existing health protocols for students who are not yet vaccinated because they are at greater risk of infection and spread of the virus.”
The university had benchmarked CDC guidelines that recommend higher education institutions to implement key prevention strategies.
Ducey said he was working with lawmakers to codify his executive order into law.