DeWine signs bill preventing vaccine mandates in Ohio public schools, universities

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday signed House Bill 244, which prevents Ohio schools from requiring vaccines.

The governor announced the bill’s signing two weeks after it passed out of the Ohio legislature.

House Bill 244 prohibits public schools in Ohio from mandating vaccines not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use each received emergency use authorization from the FDA but so far have not received full approval.

HB 244 also says public schools cannot discriminate against those not vaccinated by making them do different activities from their vaccinated counterparts.

Schools covered by the bill include all city, local, community and exempted village public schools as well as all joint vocational school districts, college-prep boarding schools and STEM schools.

It also covers state institutions of higher education, meaning colleges and universities.

DeWine did not comment on signing the bill.

>> RELATED: Can new CDC mask guidelines be enforced? Cincinnati educators doubtful

Cincinnati Public Schools’ Board of Education was slated to discuss a proposal requiring vaccinations among teachers prior to the 2021 school year at the end of June. It ended up sending the proposal back to committee.

The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers on Wednesday retweeted a message from Dayton mayor and Ohio gubernatorial hopeful Nan Whaley saying the bill will make Ohio “less safe.”

Miami University announced a vaccine incentive program on Tuesday seemingly in lieu of a vaccine mandate as some colleges and universities in other states have imposed.

A separate House bill would prevent Ohio businesses from requiring vaccines as well. Introduced in April by a West Chester House representative, the bill has not left committee.

Last week, Trinity Health’s Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus became the state’s first large hospital to require vaccines for its employees.

HB 244 does not apply to a hospital or healthcare facility such as UC Health that is owned, operated by or affiliated with a state institution of higher education.

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