A New Jersey student claims he was banned from taking virtual classes at Rutgers University because he has not been vaccinated. NJ.com reports 22-year-old Logan Hollar transferred to Rutgers University in 2020 and spent the year attending virtual classes from his home in Sandyston, Sussex County, more than 70 miles from the school campus in New Brunswick.
Now, as a senior, the psychology major decided to register for all virtual classes. Rutgers was one of the first institutions in the United States to require vaccinations for students on all of its campuses. However, vaccines weren’t needed for students enrolled in completely remote or online programs. While all of Hollar’s classes will be attended remotely, he is not part of the online programs that don’t have vaccine requirements. Hollar stated, “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. I figured I wouldn’t be part of that because all my classes were remote.”
Hollar claims that he had no problems with his university email in early August and was even able to switch classes. He later completed a mandatory survey about the Covid-19 vaccine where he checked a box saying the vaccine mandate didn’t apply to him because he was going to be learning from home. He said, “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.” He continued, “this turned out not to be the case.”
On August 27, when trying to log in to pay tuition, he was locked out of his university email account. He called the university vaccine hotline. They told him he still had to be vaccinated even though all of his classes were online. He said he had no plans to visit the campus and should not have to receive the vaccine.
Hollar was then told that he could request an exception, but if approved, it would take two to four weeks for him to be restored, and he would miss at least three weeks of classes. After a few days with no response about his request, he said, “I called back since I hadn’t received anything. 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.” He says he knows of one other student having the same problem.
Rutgers representative Dory Devlin said the university hasn’t changed its vaccination policy since it was announced in March. She stated, “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.”
She emphasized that “registering for classes that are fully remote (synchronous/asynchronous) is not the same as being enrolled in a fully online degree-granting program.” Delvin also said the university has updated its vaccination policy for clarity and will continue processing medical and religious exemptions, which currently have a two-to-four week turnaround time.
Hollar stated, “I’m not in an at-risk age group. I’m healthy, and I work out. I don’t find Covid to be scary. If someone wants to be vaccinated, that’s fine with me, but I don’t think they should be pushed.” When discussing the choice between getting the vaccine and leaving the university, he said, “I find it concerning for the vaccine to be pushed by the university rather than my doctor. I’ll probably have to transfer to a different university. I don’t care if I have access to campus. I don’t need to be there. They could ban me. I just want to be left alone.”