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WIU allows staff and students to choose COVID-19 vaccine to return this Fall

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- The Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board wants state schools to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and some Tri-state schools have released their COVID-19 protocols for the next school year.

Western Illinois University officials are allowing everyone who attends or works at the university to choose whether they get the COVID-19 vaccine or not this school year.

Junior Kae Reid got her vaccine.

"So I was like I'd rather just get it not have to think about it and then have more opportunities since I am vaccinated," Reid said.

Auxiliary Services and Risk Management Executive Director Joe Roselieb said the protocols in place are to safe guard everyone who attends WIU. Meaning they apply to students, faculty and staff.

"It came down to choice. With it still being not FDA approved and still being under emergency use," Roselieb said. "We led ourselves in the direction of requiring testing with the ability to opt for those who are fully vaccinated."

Roselieb said another reason they won't require it at this point is to not negatively impact their student enrollment.

He said in case students get COVID they will use the Bayliss and Henninger halls for quarantines.

"As well as taking the people that we need in skilled positions and moving them back to our health care facilities," Roselieb said. "So that we can if we have an uptick in cases, we have more personnel on staff to deal with that."

Reid said she's glad each person can make their own decision.

"I actually know somebody who would opt not to get the vaccine for religious reasons," Reid said. "So, I think its better that they're giving us a choice, but still kind of promoting that sort of thing."

Roselieb said they'll also loosen up some of their previous restrictions.

For example they'll still limit the number of people they will allow in gatherings, but increase it from what they allow now. Officials said masks will still be required regardless of vaccination status.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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