RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Attorney General Jason Miyares has issued a legal opinion that Virginia’s state institutions of higher education cannot require students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as a general condition of their enrollment or in-person attendance.
According to a statement released by the attorney general’s office, Miyares’ opinion highlights that “as recognized in the prior opinion, ‘[t]here is no question that the General Assembly could enact a statue requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for in-person school attendance.’ As of this writing, it has not done so. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly has amended other statues to address pandemic-related issues.”
Even though Miyares is vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus — and encourages everyone to get the vaccination — officials say there is no law in the code of Virginia saying that the Commonwealth’s public institutions can require vaccinations as a condition of enrollment or in-person attendance.
“Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, the legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements,” Miyares wrote.
You can read Miyares’ full legal opinion below:
Numerous colleges and universities around the Commonwealth — both public and private — require student vaccinations, including Averett University, Radford University, Randolph College, Roanoke College, the University of Lynchburg, the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee University.
Meanwhile, Liberty University, a private university, encourages vaccination, but does not require it.