Mandate upped COVID-19 vaccination rates at colleges and universities in Wisconsin

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“It was a way of bringing us all back together, announcing the award winners and celebrating our high vaccination rate without making it mandatory,” she said.

At the Milwaukee School of Engineering, drawing a gift card seemed to motivate students as vaccination status reports increased after the school sent emails announcing awards, spokeswoman Joellen Burdew said.

Other schools had less success with incentive programs or decided to go without.

Theresa Barry, vice president for student life at Carroll University in Waukesha, said the school offered gift cards in July, but “it didn’t make much difference” so the school stopped giving them.

At Lakeland University, which has its main campus in Plymouth, no incentive was given. Officials told the students that the vaccination would help the school offer athletics and student programs without interruption.

“They proved to be strong motivators,” said Lakeland spokesman David Gallianetti.

federal mandate

The question of enforcing vaccine mandates, at least for staff, could soon spiral out of control for universities.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order earlier this fall requiring vaccinations for employers with more than 100 workers, which would include most private colleges. The order, which faces several legal challenges, also includes a vaccine mandate for federal contractors, which would apply to at least four UW campuses.

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