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ASU will comply with Gov. Ducey order on COVID-19 vaccine policy

(Arizona State University Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University President Michael Crow said Tuesday the school will comply with an executive order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey to block key elements of its COVID-19 vaccination policy.

“We’re going to move forward and do the best we can,” Crow told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show. “We’re going to convince everyone to get vaccinated. We’re going to convince everyone to get tested.”

ASU’s policy for 2021-22, released Monday, would have made COVID-19 testing and mask wearing a requirement for students on campus who weren’t vaccinated or who refused to submit documentation.

Ducey’s order says that the state’s public universities and community colleges can’t “mandate that students obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or place any conditions on attendance or participation in classes or academic activities, including but not limited to mandatory testing and mandatory mask usage, if a person chooses not to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or disclose that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The order singled out ASU and accused the school of “attempts to usurp the constitutional authority” of the governor and Legislature.

Arizona Board of Regents Chair Larry Penley released a statement Tuesday saying all state public universities — not just ASU — would follow Ducey’s order.

“Arizona’s public universities will comply with the governor’s executive order,” Penley said. “The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff remains an utmost priority for the board and we will work with the governor to ensure our universities remain open and continue to provide voluntary testing and vaccinations for campuses and members of the community as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Crow said the university would move into “hyper-education mode” to get as many students vaccinated and tested for the new semester.

Earlier Tuesday, Crow said unvaccinated students are just being asked to continue following policies from last semester when they return to campus in the fall.

“We’re going to work to convince everyone this is what they need to do,” Crow said.

Ducey’s order includes an exemption that makes medical students training in hospitals and other health care facilities subject to vaccination and testing requirements. It also allows for required testing in the case of a significant outbreak at a student housing venue if approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“The vaccine works, and we encourage Arizonans to take it,” the Republican governor said in a press release. “But it is a choice and we need to keep it that way.”

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