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Judge blocks Western Michigan University from requiring vaccine for athletes

Four soccer players who were denied religious exemptions don’t have to meet Tuesday’s deadline

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Western Michigan University Broncos (WILX)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A judge has blocked Western Michigan University from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on four female soccer players who sued.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Grand Rapids ruled that they are likely to prevail on claims it violates their constitutional religious rights. He issued the temporary restraining order Tuesday, the school’s deadline for athletes to get an initial shot or be unable to compete.

Maloney scheduled a hearing concerning a temporary injunction on Sept. 9.

Unlike at other Michigan universities, Western’s vaccine requirement does not extend to all students and employees, though the unvaccinated do have to undergo weekly coronavirus testing.

The four soccer players were denied religious exemptions for getting the vaccine.

Maloney denied a request to block a Michigan State University policy requiring COVID-19 vaccine for all students, staff and faculty in a separate lawsuit. A worker filed the class-action lawsuit, saying she has natural immunity because she had COVID-19 and shouldn’t need a vaccine.

Several Michigan colleges and universities are requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for students and staff to take part in activities this fall, including the University of Michigan’s three campuses.

Central Michigan University and Saginaw Valley State University both are strongly encouraging everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but aren’t requiring it. However, anyone who is not fully vaccinated at both Mid-Michigan universities must undergo weekly testing.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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