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District Must Accommodate Unvaccinated Nursing Students

November 12, 2021

The Maricopa Community College District must accommodate two nursing students who sued the district in response to its vaccination requirements, The Arizona Republic reported.

The students refused to get vaccinated for religious reasons and argued that the district’s policy violated their religious rights by not helping them complete their clinical rotations required for graduation, according to article. The rotations were scheduled at partner sites that require vaccination.

U.S. District Judge Steven Logan granted the students’ preliminary injunction request earlier this week. The district has to allow the students to finish the clinical work required to complete the nursing program at Mesa Community College so they can graduate in December.

“Plaintiffs are faced with the choice of, on the one hand, compromising their religious beliefs to complete their clinicals and graduate as expected on December 17, 2021, or on the other, adhering to their beliefs and giving up the nursing degrees to which they are otherwise entitled and all their associated benefits for the indefinite future,” Logan wrote in his order.

The students were supposed to start clinical shifts this week at the Mayo Clinic, which has a vaccine mandate that does not allow religious exemptions. College officials required students to adhere to the clinic’s policy and offered them the option to complete the clinical portion of the program in the spring if clinical placements at sites without vaccination requirements were available. The district will now have to offer an alternative option.

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