From vaccine and booster mandates to restricting what students can do off-campus, a growing number of universities are forcing students to jump through hoops in hopes of avoiding an increase in COVID cases.
But some parents say these restrictions are unwarranted and are negatively impacting their child’s college experience.
In an interview Wednesday with “Fox & Friends,” parents of university students expressed growing concerns that mandatory vaccines, facemasks and discriminatory practices far outweigh the risks of getting COVID.
Dr. Dwayne Dexter, the father of a sophomore at the University of Delaware, said every student was required to get a COVID test before starting the winter session whether they were vaccinated or not — and now the university is mandating all students receive a booster before the spring semester.
“He’s under a tremendous amount of stress trying to understand what the booster shot means, is the school going remote,” Dexter said. “He’s really trying to deal with the restrictions that have been in place for the past year and a half.”
Dexter said he feels parents are “standing in the woods shouting at nobody” that these “shut up and comply mandates” are starting to impact the social and emotional well-being of kids. “They really aren’t having that college experience,” he said.
“If you look at the data out there today, are any of these mandates really impacting the infection and transmission rate of COVID, and they’re not. Our kids are in an age group where the impact of COVID on their health is very very minimal and I don’t think anybody is measuring or evaluating what is the psychological toll on these kids versus what the mandates are doing to impact their health against COVID.”
Greg Luttrell, the father of a junior at the University of Memphis, said his daughter transferred from the University of Tennessee when learning was moved online.
“For her to have to pay for housing on campus, to having to go to the cafeteria to get takeout food and to wear a mask everywhere outside of her room, she just didn’t feel that was the college experience,” Luttrell said. “They weren’t even sure there would be football games or whether they could have any social [interaction] or spend any time together.”
Although the University of Memphis does not require COVID vaccinations, masks are mandated and the school uses COVID daily symptom monitoring.
Kristina Kristen is the mother of a freshman at the University of California Irvine where COVID vaccines, booster shots and wearing facemasks indoor are mandatory. The university also requires weekly COVID testing for unvaccinated students.
“[My son] has been subjected to what can only be described as discriminatory protocols, having to be tested weekly and being subjected to different isolation protocols from those who are vaccinated,” Kristen said. “In addition to that, I think the strict masking protocols in their dorms are kind of reaching these absurd levels where they have to cite each other if the mask is slightly under the nose and get these citations.”
Kristen said it is a living situation that is far less than the experience a parent would hope their child would have during their college years.
Kristen, a Children’s Health Defense board member, said from the beginning everybody knew, and data showed, students are the lowest-risk population on the planet.
“It’s a stratified risk all around, you have basically virtually zero risk to the students between the ages of 16 to 25 of COVID, but you have massive risks from the adverse effects from the vaccines where they are showing that they’re having myocarditis, pericarditis, thrombocytopenia — all these pretty serious adverse effects from vaccines — and on top of that, they’re showing the highest vaccinated countries in the world such as Israel, Iceland, Gibraltar have in fact the highest cases and death rates.
“So this is very very alarming that as the global data is showing what is happening with the vaccinations, they’re going on with this agenda.”
Kristen said she is puzzled that institutions of higher learning are supposed to be holding science in high esteem, but she is not “seeing this laying out on the ground.”
Students, parents, faculty urge colleges to drop booster mandates
As The Defender reported Jan. 10, more than 325 students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff at Cornell University signed an open letter to the university’s president and board of trustees asking Cornell to drop its COVID vaccine booster mandate.
The authors of the petition argued Cornell’s own data highlights that vaccination, even with the booster, has very limited capability in stopping virus transmission.
As of last December, the school had identified more than 1,600 COVID positive cases with every case of the Omicron variant to date found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot.
The petition raised concerns that Cornell is ignoring natural immunity in favor of mandating a booster “based on older variants, which Cornell knows is ineffective at stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the Cornell community.”
In addition to Cornell, more than 300 Boston College parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff signed a petition on Jan. 3 to the college’s president, Fr. William Leahy, opposing the college’s one-size-fits-all COVID booster mandate because it fails to recognize natural immunity.
This new mandate was issued even though more than 97% of the campus was fully vaccinated by mandate — and despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster shot.
The petition requests the college create rational “off-ramps” to the policy to protect individuals with “hybrid immunity” and those with serologically verifiable evidence of robust COVID-19 antibody immunity.
Cornell and Boston College are just two of many elite universities and colleges now mandating indiscriminate COVID vaccine boosters across the board.