Will RGV schools require COVID-19 vaccines for the fall?

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Some private universities have decided to make COVID-19 vaccines a requirement for the Fall, so will local schools require the vaccine?

More than a dozen universities and colleges, including two in Texas, are requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to classes in the fall.

“We’ve been reviewing the documentation and guidance that has been coming out, at this point we’re not looking to require the vaccine for the fall,” said Dr. David Plummer, interim president at South Texas College.

“Any public or private entity that is receiving fund from taxpayers, through any means…shall not require a consumer to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” 

States the executive order GA-35 by Governor Greg Abbott. 

“Were seeking more guidance from the Higher Education Coordinating Board in Texas and the Texas Association of Community Colleges to see what can and can’t the college actually do,” Dr. Plummer said.

Texas State Technical College issued a statement that said the college “will follow the governor’s executive order GA-35 which governs publicly funded entities and COVID-19 vaccination administered under an emergency use authorization.”

A spokesperson for UTRGV said that they cannot require the vaccine for employees or students, and they are not at a point where it can be mandated.

But are universities and colleges legally allowed to require a vaccine?

“Legally they are, and just because legally they are, they are susceptible to being challenged in court. In the short run, whatever a college decides is what it is, until a court says otherwise,” said Attorney Rick Barrera from Barrera Law Firm.

While area schools are not making COVID-19 vaccines a requirement for the fall, they are all encouraging students to get their doses.

“We’ll be having a specific targeted vaccine drive for our TSC students, and were highly encouraging them to participate,” said Jaime Salazar the executive director of Environmental Health Safety & Risk Management at Texas Southmost College.

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