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Case Western Reserve University to require all students, faculty to receive COVID-19 vaccine; Healthcare workers petitioning for same rule

Case Western Reserve University requires all students and staff to submit proof of a vaccine, or when a vaccine is scheduled, with some exceptions.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story.

One northeast Ohio private university is requiring vaccinations for all students and staff.

Having a COVID-19 vaccine must have happened or be on the way for every student enrolled or staff and faculty member working for Case Western Reserve University.

According to the university’s website, vaccination statuses were due to the school by Friday.

An Ohio law that prohibits public universities from mandating vaccinations doesn’t apply to private schools.

“It is well within its rights to require vaccination,” Civil Rights Lawyer, Subodh Chandra, said.

According to Chandra, the requirement isn’t unconstitutional.

“The first amendment doesn’t apply to private employers, private institutions. The first amendment only applies only to governmental conduct,” Chandra said.

A house bill signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine doesn’t allow public schools and universities to require emergency authorized COVID-19 vaccines, leaving private schools exempt from that rule.

“Those institutions have the right to impose vaccine and mask mandates,” Chandra said.

The university’s terms allow students to apply for a medical or religious exception. Any other recourse for staff or students opposed becomes a much more difficult approach, Chandra said.

“I suppose someone that wanted to legally challenge Case Western University’s actions or other university’s actions could try draw its distinction between its emergency use approval and final approval,” Chandra said.

As the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues to boost infections, some healthcare workers are asking employers to follow suit.

In a joint statement signed by more than 50 organizations, health care workers are petitions for healthcare and long-term care employers to require COVID-19 vaccines for all employees.

3News asked northeast Ohio’s big three hospitals, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and Metro Health, if they require their employees to be vaccinated. In email responses, spokespersons for the hospitals said vaccinations are not required but encouraged, and that any changes in policy will be dictated by the evolution of the pandemic.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player below is from a previous, unrelated story.