Grinnell Drops COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate After Iowa Law Bans Them

A state law banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates at colleges and universities through 2029 went into effect July 1.
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  • Grinnell College last year enacted a COVID-19 vaccine requirement and planned on enforcing it again this fall.
  • However, a new state law banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates forced the private college in Iowa to change its policy.
  • Grinnell was the only college in the state with a vaccine mandate.

A new Iowa law has forced Grinnell College to rescind its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students.

The private college had announced that it would require students to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination before returning to campus this fall. However, the Iowa Legislature this spring passed House File 2298 prohibiting vaccine requirements at colleges, universities, K-12 schools and licensed child care centers through 2029. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law in June and it went into effect July 1.

"Grinnell College no longer requires COVID-19 vaccination due to a change in state law,” a Grinnell spokesperson said in a statement provided to BestCollege. "The college continues to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community, and strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination/boosters for all students who will be attending classes this fall. We continue to monitor public health conditions and adjust our operating procedures as conditions warrant."

Grinnell instituted the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students for the previous academic year and was the only college in the state with a vaccine requirement, the Des Moines Register reported.

Other states have recently lifted vaccination requirements. Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pirtzker this month announced that the state would end its vaccine mandate for college students and staff as part of a gradual scaling back of the state’s COVID-19 executive orders.