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Mandatory vaccinations not likely for returning students, OSU's incoming president says

Mandatory vaccinations not likely for returning students, OSU's incoming president says

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Students returning to Oklahoma State University for in-person classes this fall most likely won’t be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, the university’s incoming president said.

“I really commend Oklahoma State for their efforts to get everyone vaccinated, for encouraging students to get vaccinated. But at this time, I don’t think it’s likely we will have mandatory vaccinations,” Dr. Kayse Shrum told the Tulsa World Thursday.

But that’s subject to change, she added, if the situation warrants.

“Just because we say something today does not mean we won’t have new information tomorrow and so we may change our viewpoint,” Shrum said. “The one thing that I’ve learned during the pandemic is that information is always evolving and changing.”

Looking ahead, “we want to go into fall optimistic,” she said. “We’ve seen our numbers of COVID cases coming down and they’re manageable. Vaccines are widely available.”

“We want to be back in person and I know we all want to get back to normal,” she said.

But at the same time “we will be cautious and continue to monitor what’s going on,” Shrum added.

“We’re going to always monitor CDC guidelines and best practices. We’re going to continue to watch that.”

Shrum, president of OSU’s Center for Health Sciences since 2013, is a former member of the state’s COVID-19 taskforce.

She said she continues to advise people to be vaccinated against the virus.

“As a health professional, I’m a big believer in vaccinations,” she said. “And every opportunity I get I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

Shrum was selected earlier this month to succeed OSU President Burns Hargis, who is retiring at the end of the academic year July 1.

Video: OSU’s next president talks about hopes and aspirations

Video from OSU's Facebook page on April 6, 2021. Dr. Shrum speaks with current OSU president Burns Hargis, who will leave the position on July 1.


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