As other universities across Ohio mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, including our neighbors Kent State University and University of Akron, we see a growing pressure to mandate vaccines here at Youngstown State University.
At the same time, cases continue to fluctuate in Mahoning County as well as surrounding counties, according to the Ohio Department. When compared, the state of Ohio and Mahoning County are less than 50% fully vaccinated.
Some universities are forcing students to provide proof of vaccination by the end of fall semester. But public distrust of the vaccine seems rampant in a time of heightened government distrust and misinformation.
While people should have a choice to get vaccinated, an organization should also have the choice to ensure the safety of its members. People who wish to be a part of an organization should adhere to its policy as long as the community is taken into account and wellbeing is considered.
Given YSU’s reluctance to mandate masks without a protest, it doesn’t seem it is on-par with other universities’ COVID-19 protocol, so it can be difficult to look to other schools’ policies on this matter.
It doesn’t seem fair for YSU to require students to get vaccinated in order to be on campus while the school still does not provide the option of virtual learning for all classes. YSU is offering most classes face-to-face without the option of a purely virtual education, should a student desire to remain off campus. It would not be right to mandate a vaccine without giving those hesitant to receive one equal access to education, albeit a virtual one, without an additional $100 remote learning fee.
We can’t know for certain what the future may bring. The only thing we can be sure of is that we must all do our best to protect ourselves, as well as others, and look down the road and hope for a better tomorrow.