On Friday, an attorney representing Indiana University students petitioned the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the school’s vaccination requirement, which is scheduled to go into force this fall while the appeals process is underway.
While advocating in the spring that teachers should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, state and national teachers’ organizations have so far shown reluctance to endorse a mandatory vaccination program. However, according to recent remarks from the influential president of the American Federation of Teachers, this may be changing soon.
Teachers’ Union Replies To Accusations Of Not Pushing For Mandatory Vaccines
This autumn, teachers’ unions, which drew criticism last year for pushing for a more conservative approach to school re-opening, are calling for five days of in-person teaching per week starting in September. However, even though vaccines are generally regarded to be the most effective method of preventing the spread of COVID-19, they have so far refrained from endorsing a mandatory vaccination program.
But, as a result of the Delta surge, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, spoke out against the notion of making vaccinations for teachers a mandatory necessity. As children under the age of 12 are not eligible for a vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advises that children in schools wear masks while they are sick. The submission represents the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to weigh in on the matter, which has become more critical due to a fresh outbreak of the virus caused by the Delta strain, which has resulted in increased demand for vaccinations from commercial and government organizations.
Unless they qualify for an exemption, students are required to get vaccinated at the institution. After being excused from the requirement, they must continue to wear masks and submit to testing twice a week until they are restored. According to James Bopp, a lawyer for the students, in exchange for the discretionary benefits of enrolling at IU, IU coerces students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and medical treatment choice. He told this to the Supreme Court in an emergency petition, which asked the justices to act by August 13.
Bopp said that the kids’ reluctance to get the vaccine is based on genuine concerns, which include underlying medical problems, the presence of natural antibodies, and the dangers connected with vaccination. A 1905 Supreme Court ruling, which found that a state may mandate vaccinations against smallpox, has been cited in lower courts to support the students’ claims of discrimination.
A panel of judges on the 7th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed by President Donald Trump, stated that vaccination requirements have been standard in the country. They emphasized that the Indiana University policies allow for exemptions for those who have medical issues related to the vaccine or religious objections to the vaccine, among other reasons. In the court’s opinion, these plaintiffs only demand that they wear a mask and be tested, requirements that are not legally problematic. The court also noted that vaccination is a prerequisite for attending the institution. Those who do not want to get vaccinated are free to go somewhere else.
According to the court’s decision, a university would have trouble operating if each student was concerned that everyone could be spreading illnesses. In our opinion, the Constitution does not compel a university to use remote learning if it believes that vaccination (or masks and frequent testing of the unvaccinated) would make in-person operations sufficiently safe. The university will almost certainly be asked to respond by the Supreme Court. The Indiana University spokesman, Chuck Carney, said to CNN last week that the university remains optimistic that it would eventually win because of a legitimate public health interest in ensuring the safety of our students, professors, and staff.