Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order on Tuesday preventing Arizona’s public universities and community colleges from mandating students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit COVID-19 vaccination documents. In addition, higher education students cannot be mandated to be tested for the virus or wear masks in order to participate in learning.
“The vaccine works, and we encourage Arizonans to take it. But it is a choice and we need to keep it that way,” Ducey said in a news release. “Public education is a public right, and taxpayers are paying for it. We need to make our public universities available for students to return to learning. They have already missed out on too much learning.”
The executive order provides exemptions for students participating in medical or clinical training. It also does not prevent colleges from encouraging vaccinations, providing testing or having voluntary mask usage. According to the executive order, although COVID is highly contagious, it has not demonstrated transmission characteristics that would mandate vaccines in "narrow circumstances."
Arizona has administered more than 6 million vaccine doses to date, with more than 3 million Arizonans fully vaccinated.
Read the full executive order here