FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - George Mason University has announced it will no longer require staff and students to be fully vaccinated.
Mason President Gregory Washington sent a letter to the school on Monday notifying them of the updated COVID-19 policies.
"Today, nearly 93 percent of the campus community is fully vaccinated, which far exceeds Virginia’s 69 percent and the nation’s 64 percent full vaccination rates. What’s more, our positivity rate from all sources of testing is down to 2.4 percent and dropping," Washington wrote.
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"Given our high vaccination rate, the continued decline of the omicron variant, the Governor’s recent executive orders and directives, and the recent Attorney General’s opinion, we will now strongly encourage vaccination protocols for all Mason students, faculty, and staff, though we no longer require them."
The news arrives three days after Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares issued his legal opinion stating public universities within the Commonwealth cannot mandate the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for enrollment or in-person attendance.
Washington also announced he hopes to lift the university-wide masking requirements by March 4 – a week before spring break.
"I understand the concept of personal freedom. But we must also understand the need for collective responsibility, and just because we can do something does not mean that we should," Washington said. "We have shown that we can manage COVID-19 and keep people safe, and you have stuck with us on this journey."