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Universities begin notifying employees of vaccine mandate deadlines

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’re learning more about the impacts of the IHL’s directive to the public universities regarding vaccine mandates. And another state lawmaker is pushing back on the requirements.

Letters are going out to let employees at five of the eight public universities that if they haven’t gotten their COVID vaccine yet… time is running out to get it done.

“I think what’s important to note here is that the President’s Executive Order left not only Mississippi State, but the entire Mississippi IHL system with no choice other than to follow the mandate, or find a way to replace hundreds of millions of dollars in, in research funding, that provides hundreds of jobs in Mississippi,” explained Mississippi State University Chief Communications Officer and Director Sid Salter.

“So failure to comply is putting Mississippians out of work,” he continued. “And nobody really wanted to do that. But whether we wanted to or not, the IHL institutions had no choice but to adopt this policy. The universities had no choice but to adopt the policy because it’s a matter of following federal and then by extension, state legal guidelines.”

A letter to students at Ole Miss notes that while IHL policy still prevents vaccination as a condition of enrollment, any student employed by the university will also need to meet the December 8 deadline.

The three schools currently without federal contracts are: Alcorn State, Jackson State and Mississippi University for Women. MUW sent a letter to students, faculty and staff saying they would not be requiring vaccines for employees since they do not currently hold any federal contracts.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jansen Owen recently sent a letter to the Governor requesting the issue of vaccine mandates be added to any special session call.

“Honestly, I kind of see some of these issues more pressing than the medical marijuana issue,” said Owen.

He’s hopeful the state could take some actions, even if it leads to court actions.

“I believe that, you know, the, the President’s current mandates, they fly in the face of the Constitution,” added Owen. “The Constitution leaves the police powers, the power to regulate health and safety of its citizens, to that government that’s closest to the people, state and local governments.”

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