A Richmond seminar said it would require COVID-19 vaccines in the fall, as universities across the country question whether they have the authority to issue such warrants.
The Union Presbyterian Seminary, located in the city’s northern district, is the first local higher education institution to publicly announce that it will demand the shots. Brian Blount, president of the seminar, said the call was made not only to ensure the safety of its students and staff, but also to protect vulnerable and elderly family members who interact with them.
“It’s the concern for the other that we try to express, in a functional way,” said Blount.
More than 50 colleges across the country say they will require students and staff to be vaccinated by fall, including Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame and Duke University. Whether the law allows them to do so is unclear, experts say.
Most schools in Virginia have yet to announce decisions. One exception is Hampton University, a private school, which will require students and staff to receive vaccines by the end of May.
The majority of colleges that have issued this requirement are private schools, which generally have more freedom than state-funded public schools. The three largest private schools in the Richmond area – the University of Richmond, Virginia Union University and Randolph-Macon College – have not made a decision, school spokespersons said recently.