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WSU, KU, K-State Pause Vaccine Mandates Following Federal Court Decision

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A federal judge issued an injunction to delay the implementation of a nationwide vaccine mandate covering federal contractors

By Daniel Caudill – Kansas News Service

Three major universities in Kansas, including Wichita State, are suspending a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees following a court decision Tuesday in Georgia.

U.S. District Judge Stan Baker issued an injunction to halt the implementation of a nationwide vaccine mandate for employees of any business or university that has a contract with the federal government. Baker is an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

As a result, the University of Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State all paused their employee vaccine mandates.

WSU President Rick Muma said in a statement Tuesday that the university is still encouraging employees to get the vaccine, even if it’s not required.

Both students and employees can get their shots for free on campus.

“We have all become accustomed during this COVID-19 crisis to adapting and pivoting quickly when needed,” Muma said. “This is yet another example where our university community continues to demonstrate their commitment to compliance, the health and safety of our community, and adjusting when necessary.”

The injunction came after Republican leaders from seven states, including Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 29 arguing that the vaccine mandate issued by President Joe Biden exceeded federal authority.

Schmidt, who is running for Kansas governor, praised the decision in a statement on Tuesday.

“Federal courts continue to recognize that these overreaching, one-size-fits all mandates from the Biden administration are unlawful,” Schmidt said. “I continue to encourage Kansans to be vaccinated, but that personal health care decision should be made by each individual and not mandated by the federal government.”

The White House had not yet issued a statement about the court decision as of Tuesday afternoon.

The nationwide vaccine mandate would require millions of workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4.

About 60% of people in the United States are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. State health officials say about 50% of all Kansans are vaccinated.

More than 788,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 since last year, including more than 6,700 in Kansas.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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