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Editorial: State mandate a needed step

Last Thursday, Aug. 26, Bradley University announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The decision is in compliance with a new mandate from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, which requires employees in healthcare and education and higher education students to be inoculated. 

The announcement also included a new statewide indoor mask mandate, which comes amidst a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

The mandate states that those who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine by Sept. 5 will have to be tested for the virus at least once per week.

While many expressed disdain toward Bradley for the decision, the school is simply following state orders. The university has provided a number of resources to find vaccination sites, including on-campus and off-campus options.

While some may see the mandate as anything from inconvenient to a breach of personal freedoms, The Scout believes that this is a necessary step to prevent further ramifications of COVID-19.

Since the emergence of a potential vaccine, the world has been talking about herd immunity, and the more people that receive the vaccine, the closer we get to that reality. The quicker people are vaccinated, the closer we can regain peace of mind and live free of COVID-19 restrictions.

With that in mind, the pandemic is not over. Many have been referring to COVID-19 as an issue of the past, but it is still present and affects lives every day. 

Between Aug. 18 and Aug. 26, 105 COVID-19 tests were administered on campus and four were positive, causing a 3.8% positivity rate. An additional two cases were reported from off-campus testing. 

As of Wednesday, 66% of Bradley students and 63% of employees are vaccinated, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.  

The vaccine won’t eliminate the virus, but it will decrease the potential for serious illness. Without immunity to viruses, it can change as it spreads and multiplies, according to the World Health Organization. If steps aren’t taken now, then we may be battling variants for years to come.

College students must follow the vaccine mandate, unless there are valid medical or religious exemptions, and voicing personal or political beliefs won’t change that. This is also not a time to ridicule or praise Bradley, for the university was merely following the state’s order.

It is essential that everyone does what is necessary to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy.

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The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.