“I am highly confident that Covid-19 and variants do not travel through computer monitors by taking online classes . . .”
A US university student who chose to take classes remotely rather than be forced to get vaccinated against Covid-19 for on-campus learning has reportedly been barred from school despite doing his studies 70 miles (100km) away.
Logan Hollar, a 22-year-old psychology major, told NJ.com in an article published on Sunday that he was locked out of his Rutgers University email and related accounts when he tried to pay his tuition fees on August 27. He said he knows another student in the same situation.
— njdotcom (@njdotcom) September 6, 2021
As a result, Hollar has been blocked from participating since the first semester of what was supposed to be his senior year began on September 1. He transferred to the school last year and decided to take all his classes online because he didn’t want to be subject to the Rutgers vaccine mandate.
“I’m not in an at-risk age group,” Hollar said. “I’m healthy, and I work out. I don’t find Covid to be scary. If someone wants to be vaccinated, that’s fine with me, but I don’t think they should be pushed.”
The student’s ouster is an apparent contradiction to how jab mandates have been justified by US colleges. A legal ruling that upheld compulsory vaccines at Indiana University – which became a key precedent for inoculation mandates when the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal – argued that students who didn’t want to get the shots had other options. One of the options specifically mentioned was taking courses online.
A Rutgers spokeswoman told NJ.com the university’s vaccination policies differed between a “fully online, degree-granting program” and fully remote classes in which other students might be on campus for part of a course. It’s not clear how Hollar’s participation from his home in Sandyston, New Jersey, might spread Covid-19 to classmates or staff on campus in New Brunswick, halfway across the state.
The spokeswoman, Dory Devlin, noted that students can apply for medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate – a process that takes two to four weeks, during which they are locked out of their accounts. However, Hollar didn’t claim a medical or religious reason; rather, he didn’t want to be forced to take a vaccine that he considered unnecessary, and opted to stay off campus to avoid having to comply.
Hollar said he sought answers from Rutgers as to why he had to be vaccinated to take online classes. One representative told him he could apply for an exemption to get reinstated, which he did. But with the clock ticking on the start of classes, he called back days later and was told the administration had decided not to grant waivers for anyone who requested them after August 23.
“I find it concerning for the vaccine to be pushed by the university rather than my doctor,” Hollar said. “I’ll probably have to transfer to a different university.” He added that he was content to be barred from campus while doing his coursework online.
I don’t need to be there. They could ban me. I just want to be left alone.
Last March, Rutgers became the first university in the country to mandate that students be vaccinated at all of its campuses. Hundreds of other US colleges and universities have imposed such orders, some of which waited for the Indiana ruling to establish a firm legal footing.
Hollar’s stepfather, Keith Williams, called the Rutgers decision “crazy,” adding, “I believe in science. I believe in vaccines. But I am highly confident that Covid-19 and variants do not travel through computer monitors by taking online classes.”
Social media users were similarly astonished, suggesting that the ban showed vaccine mandates weren’t motivated by safety concerns. “It’s not about science and health, it’s about control,” video producer Damon Salvadore said. Conservative pundit Blaire White mocked the university’s policy, saying, “I see we’re still following the science.
It's not about science and health. It's about control.
— Damon A. Salvadore (@DamonSalvadore1) September 7, 2021
I see we're still following the science.
— Blaire White (@MsBlaireWhite) September 7, 2021
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