After facing lockdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing protocols, communities now face a new order: Covid-19 vaccine mandates. While places such as New York City have announced this new requirement to enter certain facilities, college students have been one of the main groups affected by this mandate. Many Universities are requiring students and faculty to get the shot for the upcoming school year.
While some students have happily taken the vaccine, others have been reluctant or refused to do so. Certain schools offer religious, medical, or personal exemptions for students to have the opportunity to opt out of taking the vaccine. In order to file for a religious exemption, institutions may require a personal letter that explains why the student is seeking an exemption, which can be a daunting and difficult task. That being said, various resources have been made available to students as they write and articulate their religious exemption letters, one of them being Students Against Mandates.
This website serves as a guide for students on how to formulate religious exemption letters for those who choose to file them at their institutions. “We share important information about what rights you have protected by the United States Constitution and how to exercise and protect your basic human rights.”
Under the tab “Religious Exemptions,” important tips are included for students to keep in mind as they write their letters. It is emphasized that the letter cannot be a carbon copy of one online, but instead needs to be the original work of the student.
Additionally, it is mentioned that this kind of letter should not focus on, “the CDC, side effects to the COVID-19 shot, or any scientific data.” Because it is a religious exemption letter, it needs to be focused on the religious beliefs and values of the student, and thus how taking the vaccine goes against these beliefs.
For more thorough and detailed guidance on how to write a religious exemption, a ten-step outline is also included for students to follow. Among these steps include explaining your religious beliefs, incorporating scripture, and a “summary statement.” Links are also provided under this tab for students to refer to as they write their exemption letters, such as Biblical scripture links and information on exemption legislation by state.
The tab “What to Know” gives tips on how to handle communication with institutions and businesses that have implemented vaccine mandates: “When communicating with your employer or institution – communicate only in writing. . . to ensure you have proof of all your emails, forward all correspondences to your private email accounts.”
This page also includes links to learn more about vaccine mandates at institutions around the country, such as The White House COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge. This challenge serves as a way for, “colleges and universities across the country to join [them] in [their] efforts to end the pandemic.” It outlines three “key commitments” for the schools to follow: “Engage every student, faculty, and staff member,” “organize your college community,” and “deliver vaccine access for all.” Schools across the country have joined the challenge.
As colleges continue to implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates around the country, it is imperative for students who apply for exemptions to be aware of resources they can refer to. For those who do not want to receive the vaccine for religious purposes, let Students Against Mandates be a place to consult as you educate and advocate for yourself through composing an exemption letter.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.