Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) (Photo by TONI L. SANDYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) (Photo by TONI L. SANDYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said he does not think public schools should mandate that students get vaccinated against COVID-19. asked the senator on Tuesday, “Do you think that public schools and colleges should be able to mandate that students be vaccinated for COVID-19?”  

“No,” he replied.

A number of universities have announced their plans to require student vaccinations for the upcoming school year, including Virginia Tech and The University of Colorado. They do allow for exemptions based on medical condition or religion.

However, according to Virginia Tech’s Frequently Asked Questions, the religious exemption form must be notarized and Virginia’s state health commissioner reserves the right to exclude you from university activity if there are any perceived emergencies. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that K-12 schools highly encourage vaccinations, yet does not suggest mandates. They also note that, “Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time,” and highlight alternate prevention strategies. 

Despite this, some health officials are pushing for states and school districts to require the COVID vaccination for school children returning in the fall.

Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said, “Anytime there’s legislation that potentially prohibits the health department from trying to prevent the spread of disease, even if it’s putting limits on masks or mandates on vaccination, then it’s another step that local health departments would have to go through should there be an outbreak or a rise in cases,” reported CNN