State Watch

Mississippi public universities withdraw staff vaccine mandates

Mississippi public universities that were required to implement a coronavirus vaccine mandate under the Biden administration’s order have rescinded the policy.

The University of Mississippi, Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi told The Hill they lifted their coronavirus vaccine mandate after the Biden administration’s order to require federal contractors be vaccinated was halted in court. 

Mississippi State University told The Associated Press it has also gone forward with revoking the vaccine mandate due to the court’s decision. 

Biden’s mandate made it so federal contractors had to be vaccinated by Jan. 4, but the order was halted in court nationwide on Wednesday. 

The other public colleges in the state, Mississippi Valley State University, Delta State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi University for Women, are not covered federal contractors and were not required to abide by Biden’s order, a spokesperson for Mississippi Valley State University told The Hill.

The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) gave university leaders the authority to follow the federal government’s executive order and related guidance as long as the order was not stayed, delayed or revoked. Since the executive order was stayed, the university is suspending its efforts to require vaccination of our employees,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said Wednesday after the court decision. 

Boyce said the school will monitor further legal updates and reinstate the mandate if the court changes the decision. He did encourage staff to get the vaccine regardless of the law. 

The University of Southern Mississippi is keeping its vaccine submission portal open for any employees who want to upload proof of vaccination. 

Jackson State University said it is following the directive approved by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, which ruled schools did not have to require the coronavirus vaccine if Biden’s order was stayed in court. 

The Hill has reached out to Mississippi State University, Delta State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi University for Women for comment. 

Tags COVID-19 vaccination in the United States United States responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

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