Deadline Friday for U of M students to submit proof of vaccination, request exemption

Friday was the deadline for University of Minnesota students to submit their COVID-19 vaccination form — providing proof of vaccination — or request an exemption.

The university announced the deadline following the full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

As of Oct. 4, nearly 80% of students had submitted their paperwork and of that group, about 97% reported being vaccinated. Meanwhile, 95% of staff reported they were vaccinated.

"I was OK with it, for me, it doesn’t go against any religion or me as a person," said Gwendolyn Yang, a U of M freshman. "I feel like it’s just to keep the community safe from COVID because it’s such a big campus."

But Yang has friends who are hesitant.

"Some of them, they don’t want to get the COVID shot," Yang said. "A lot of them do get it, but some of them, they don’t because they don’t know the long-term effects of the vaccine. So it’s very concerning for them."

Sophomore Alexis Theis said she submitted her form awhile ago.

"I did it before school even started, just because I’ve been vaccinated for several months now," she said. "Most people I know are vaccinated and at that point, if enough people are vaccinated — herd immunity — so it shouldn’t matter if a certain small percentage of people are unvaccinated, even if they sit next to me in class."

Charles Leffler, another sophomore, said he filled out the form and is glad in-person classes are back. However, he added that things aren’t completely back to normal.

"You know, I was here last year in the dorms doing online, and the amount of people here now, it’s still shocking. Just a weird experience because I’m now finally feeling like I’m at college," he said. "There’s definitely downsides. COVID is still a thing but with vaccines and masks, things are going decently well right now."

A student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth has sued the school over the policy.

Students who violate the policy will not be able to register for classes in the future.