Western Michigan to Issue Fines to Unvaccinated Students Who Miss Weekly COVID Tests

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo announced that unvaccinated students who miss weekly COVID tests will be fined.

The announcement was made last week, when approximately 21 percent of students had yet to be vaccinated or registered their doses with the university health center, according to WXMI. The weekly COVID test requirement was enforced at the start of the school year. The announcement said some students had been skipping testing and hoped the policy will get students to comply.

University policy says that for every missed weekly test, students will be fined $50, which will increase to $100 after the first five fines. There is no maximum to how much a student can owe. Fines will start being issued the week of Jan. 10, according to the announcement.

The mandate also says that a student owing more than $300 on their account cannot register for classes.

The announcement encourages students to get vaccinated as well, saying, "it's not too late to be immunized."

"I personally think that it is a good thing they are trying to get the vaccine out, because it is important for students to get vaccinated," said Western Michigan University student Drew Gelbaugh, according to WXMI.

Other schools have taken measures against COVID, considering the increase in cases, as well as the spread of the Omicron variant.

Wayne State University in Detroit announced Thursday it will go to remote learning in the new year until Jan. 31, then look at the case numbers and data to determine how to move forward. Wayne State, along with other universities, also began requiring the COVID booster for its university next year. The university also issued a flu vaccine requirement.

Western Michigan University, Missed COVID Tests, Fines
Western Michigan University announced that unvaccinated students who skip weekly COVID tests will face monetary fines. Above, Merline Jimenez, left, administers a COVID-19 swab at a testing site at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 21, 2021. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Last week, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University announced that all students, faculty and staff must receive the booster at the beginning of next semester. Those schools required COVID-19 vaccines for the university population for the fall semester, due in part to the highly infectious Delta variant.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials on Tuesday warned that the Omicron variant is expected to spread widely in Michigan in the coming days.

Oakland University in Oakland County will go remote for the first two weeks of the semester next year starting Jan. 5, the school announced earlier this week. The plan is to monitor case numbers and return to in-person instruction by Jan. 18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Western Michigan University, Missed COVID Tests, Fines
The announcement from Western Michigan University encourages students to get vaccinated as well, saying, “it’s not too late to be immunized.” Above, a nurse administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to a college student at a City of Long Beach Public Health COVID mobile vaccination clinic at the California State University Long Beach (CSULB) campus on Aug. 11, 2021. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images