COVID-19 Roundup: Division Over Safety Protocols

U of Wisconsin Stout professor is fired for not wearing a mask. Spelman Faculty Council says no in-person teaching without clear safety protocols. Americans remain divided on vaccine mandates. 

August 20, 2021
 

The University of Wisconsin system’s Board of Regents fired a professor at the Stout campus last month for not wearing a mask in class last year in violation of campus and system policies, according to Madison.com. The professor, engineer Pavel Bizyukov, had previously complained to the university that he couldn’t breathe well in a mask and asked Stout officials to explain the masking mandate, but he didn’t try to get a medical waiver not to wear one. Bizyukov was officially fired for not wearing a mask on one day in September 2020, but he’d reportedly been cautioned about not wearing a mask before that. A faculty committee upheld the university’s termination case against Bizyukov following a hearing. Bizyukov has accused the university of breach of contract.

-- Colleen Flaherty


The Faculty Council at Spelman College, a historically black women's college in Atlanta, sent an email to students Thursday morning saying that professors will not teach in-person until they receive clear and enforceable safety guidelines and protocols, The Atlanta Voice reported.

Spelman posted expanded guidance on its website in response to the faculty concerns.

“The health and safety of the Spelman community is a top priority for the College as we restore the residential college experience this year," the college said in a statement. "With the guidance of the medical community and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have implemented mandatory vaccinations, along with masking and periodic testing, in order to obtain the lowest possible risk to the campus community.

Classes began at Spelman on Wednesday.

--Elizabeth Redden


Americans are deeply divided over whether colleges should mandate vaccination against COVID, with 48 percent of Americans agreeing with mandatory vaccination requirements for college students, 38 percent disagreeing and another 13 percent saying they “don’t know,” according to a new national survey, the Argyle-Leger Confidence Report.

Majorities of survey respondents living in urban and suburban areas favored college vaccine requirements. In rural areas, 47 percent of adults opposed college vaccine mandates, while 38 percent supported them.

While 64 percent of adults are confident in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, 29 percent said they would withdraw their child from a college if it required vaccination.

“While a plurality of Americans favor vaccination mandates on campus, the real story isn’t how many support vaccine requirements or not; it’s how strongly they hold those views,” said Daniel Tisch, president and CEO for Argyle Public Relationships. “Much of this can be traced back to Americans’ confidence, or lack thereof, in the information they receive on the topic.”

The Argyle-Leger Confidence Report is the first in a planned series examining Americans’ attitudes and behaviors on issues related to their confidence in information, institutions, leaders, and sources of authority.

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Another recent national poll on this topic, by Quinnipiac University, found the country is almost evenly divided on this issue, with 48 percent of the Quinnipiac respondents favoring COVID-19 vaccine requirements for college students and 49 percent opposing them.

-- Elizabeth Redden


The University of Virginia disenrolled 242 students for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS 19 News reported. Of those 242 students, 49 had chosen courses for the academic year. UVA announced in May that all students would need to be vaccinated.

-- Elizabeth Redden

 

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