A student of Rutgers University says he has been blocked from taking virtual classes online because of his vaccination status.
22-year-old Logan Hollar is a senior who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology from the Piscataway, New Jersey-based public university. He also chose not to take the covid vaccine
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“I’m not in an at-risk age group. I’m healthy and I work out. I don’t find Covid to be scary,” Hollar said. “If someone wants to be vaccinated, that’s fine with me, but I don’t think they should be pushed.”
Mail Online reports: Hollar decided to complete his studies this year by taking all-online classes from his Sandyston, New Jersey home instead of going to the campus in New Brunswick 70 miles away, according to NJ Advance Media.
Earlier this year, Rutgers became the first major university in the United States to mandate that students and faculty get vaccinated as a condition of setting foot on campus.
Those who have medical or religious reasons for not getting the vaccine could apply for an exemption, as per the school’s policy.
Students who were enrolled in one of the school’s remote online degree programs or online-only continuing education programs did not need to show proof of vaccination.
Hollar, however, is not part of any of those programs, according to NJ Advance Media.
He is enrolled in the undergrad program that requires students to be vaccinated, though he says that he was told by the university that he could be exempt if he registered for all-virtual classes.
‘I’m not in an at-risk age group. I’m healthy and I work out. I don’t find COVID to be scary,’ Hollar, 22, told NJ Advance Media.
‘If someone wants to be vaccinated, that’s fine with me, but I don’t think they should be pushed.’
Hollar said he did his research after administrators announced their vaccine policy this past March.
‘When they put out the guidance in March, I was reading through all the verbiage, which was if you plan to return to campus, you need to be vaccinated,’ Hollar said.
‘I figured I wouldn’t be part of that because all my classes were remote.’
Hollar was enrolled in the system and managed to switch out of a class on August 6 without any issues.
He then filled out a required survey online about the coronavirus vaccine.
One of the questions asked him to check a box indicating that the vaccine mandate didn’t apply to him since he would be studying from home – or so he thought.
‘After submitting the survey, I got no pop-up indication that I still needed the vaccine – like I had seen in the past – and since I was online and the survey said I was all set, I assumed the emails in my inbox pertaining to (the vaccine) must apply to in-person students,’ Hollar said.
‘This turned out not to be the case.’
On August 27, Hollar logged in to his online portal to pay his tuition. To his surprise, he found that he was locked out of his Rutgers email and student accounts.
When he called the school’s vaccine hotline, he said he was told that he needed to get the shot in order to take classes – even if they were remote.
Since then, Hollar has sought answers from the school as to why he needed to get vaccinated even if he had no intention of setting foot on campus.
When he got hold of a school representative, Hollar said he was told that he could officially request an exemption.
After submitting the request, it would take between two and four weeks for him to be reinstated, according to NJ Advance Media.
That meant Hollar would have to miss at least three weeks of classes, which began on September 1.
‘Days later, I called back since I hadn’t received anything,’ Hollar said.
‘They told me that unfortunately, they had decided that they would not grant waivers for anyone who had put in for them past August 23, even though I was told that I could get one with no problem on the 27th.’
Keith Williams, Hollar’s stepfather, said he was ‘dumbfounded’ when told of what happened.
‘I believe in science, I believe in vaccines, but I am highly confident that COVID-19 and variants do not travel through computer monitors by taking online classes,’ Williams said.
Williams told NJ Advance Media that he is vaccinated.
‘He chose to remove himself from an on-campus experience so he would not need to be vaccinated,’ Williams said.
‘Now to be removed and shut down from his Rutgers email and online classes during the start of his senior year seems a bit crazy.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Hollar and Rutgers seeking comment.
A Rutgers spokeswoman told NJ Advance Media that the school’s vaccine policy has not changed since it was announced in March.
‘Since March, we have provided comprehensive information and direction to students to meet vaccine requirements through several communications channels, including our university websites, direct emails, and messages relayed throughout the registration and enrollment processes,’ spokesperson Dory Devlin said.
Devlin cited school policy which notes: ‘Registering for classes that are fully remote (synchronous/asynchronous) is not the same as being enrolled in a fully online degree-granting program.’
She said that as of Friday, nearly 99 percent of Rutgers students were in compliance with the school’s vaccine mandate.
Devlin said that students like Hollar who have applied for an exemption need to wait up to a month in order to regain access to their accounts.
‘Via the same portal, students can apply for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine policy,’ according to Devlin.
‘Students who submitted exemption requests after August 1 should expect a two-to four-week turnaround, during which time they will not have access to university systems,’ Devlin said.
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