“require students to submit a statement from a religious leader in order to seek a religious exemption”
It would be fun to test the limits of this kind of policy. Would schools accept a note from a Wiccan priestess?
Campus Reform reports:
Religious exemption? Some colleges are requiring notes from clergy.
Some of the college students seeking a religious exemption from their school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement are facing a new hurdle: the need for a member of the clergy to attest to their religious beliefs.
St. John’s University, South Carolina State University, Columbia University Teachers College, Hofstra University, Bennett College, and Massachusetts College of Law are among the higher education institutions that require students to submit a statement from a religious leader in order to seek a religious exemption.
The need for a clergy letter is not common: Most school policies reviewed by Campus Reform allow students to seek a religious exemption by writing a brief statement about how their beliefs preclude them from getting vaccinated. For K-12 students, states that offer religious exemptions for any kind of vaccine typically ask for a parent’s attestation about their religious views, but not confirmation from a third party.
A select few colleges and universities are asking for evidence from clergy to back up a request for a religious exemption, just as they ask for evidence from a doctor to back up a request for a medical exemption.
St. John’s University instructs students to have their clergy member describe, in a written statement, “the religious principles that prohibit vaccination,” as well as whether or not other vaccines are allowed by their faith. If only the COVID shot is prohibited by the religion, the clergy member is asked to explain why.
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