Skip to content
Will Mississippi colleges require COVID...

Will Mississippi colleges require COVID vaccines, masks this Fall?

By: Anne Summerhays - July 6, 2021

See what your college or university is planning for the 2021-2022 school year.

One of the biggest current debates regarding education is whether or not schools will require students and teachers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.

College immunization requirements are established by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi.

COVID-19 vaccines are currently under emergency use authorization. Under an emergency use authorization, the FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain criteria have been met.

When the vaccine is granted with full FDA approval, immunization requirements will become more common in colleges and higher education institutions.

Below are the colleges and universities in Mississippi who have made their plans for the upcoming school year known to date:

Mississippi State will continue to urge all employees and students to be fully vaccinated, but it is not required. People who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19 unless they become symptomatic. Existing capacity limitations related to COVID-19 in campus facilities have been removed. Meeting rooms, auditoriums, etc. can resume 100% capacity. Fully vaccinated person will not be required to wear a mask but those who are unvaccinated will be encouraged to continue masking.

The University of Mississippi has announced similar plans to that of Mississippi State. Ole Miss will offer the Fall 2021 semester as a full in-person, campus experience and will continue to monitor the health and safety of our campus community and adapt if necessary to government orders and public health guidance. University Health Services is offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students and the families of those in the university community ages 18 and up. Students will not required to be vaccinated for fall semester.

Mississippi College is taking steps to ensure a healthy and safe campus environment leading into the Fall 2021 semester by encouraging vaccinations. They are offering several incentives to students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine and register their vaccination through a confidential online portal.

The University of Southern Mississippi is preparing for a full Fall 2021 semester, returning classes that were previously offered face-to-face to their traditional in-person formats and implementing a complete slate of student engagement opportunities and events. USM continues to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and fully implement health and safety protocols through Community Standards that have been adhered to since last spring. USM says more details about the Fall 2021 semester will be released at a later date.

Belhaven University is planning for all classes to be in-person, along with normal residential living, athletic games and campus events activities this fall. They will continue appropriate CDC recommended precautions for the safety of our students, faculty and staff as that is our highest priority. Classes will be in-person and campus will be operating as normally as the CDC allows, and all athletics will compete during their regular season. Vaccines are strongly encouraged for all students, faculty and staff, but not required. It is expected that masks will continue to be required inside buildings.

Jackson State University is currently finalizing their COVID-19 plan for the Fall 2021 semester. For the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semester, the university implemented new protocols and expectations for faculty, staff, and students, including a modified academic calendar, forms of in-person and remote course delivery, mandatory training for employees and students, daily symptom checks, and COVID-19 testing and tracing.

You can click here for a listing of colleges and universities across the country that are requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 for attendance in the fall.

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: