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KU student starts petition asking for mandatory vaccines or masks

Coronavirus in Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WDAF) – A University of Kansas student is calling on the school to require vaccinations or masks.

The petition has more than 500 signatures. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department said it expects to see an increase in cases when school starts again.

Sophie Kunin is a senior and triple major at the University of Kansas. She’s studying women and gender studies, political science, and international studies. When she graduates she’s heading to law school, but before that, she’s hoping to create change on campus.

“I hope people sign the petition, share the petition,” Kunin said.

She started the petition asking the school to either require vaccinations or make masks mandatory when students are on campus for the academic year.

“I’m going to be in lecture halls with hundreds of people every day of the week, and that’s alarming as a daughter, as a granddaughter, as a babysitter, as someone that goes into Chipotle and orders a burrito, I don’t want to get the people around me sick no matter who it is,” Kunin said.

Some in Lawrence believe it’s needed, and others — not as much.

“It’s for the safety of all students so maybe if it would be a requirement in the inside it would be better,” senior, Augustina Carvallo said.

“I think the whole mask thing is something that we shouldn’t be scared of anymore,” Lawrence resident, Jafet Martinez said.

“I agree with the petition, especially because we not only have to take care of ourselves but the people around us,” chemical engineering student, Lucia Matamoros said.

Douglas County said its cases are down, but is expecting a spike at the beginning of the school year.

“We want to see them, go ahead and take that opportunity and give themselves time, especially before the school year so that they could have a more normal school year,” George Diepenbrock with the health department said.

The university said it does not require vaccines or masks at this time. Students who live in the dorms are asked to voluntarily show they have the vaccine, or will need to be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive.


“KU had zero known transmissions of COVID-19 within any of our classrooms or research spaces during the pandemic, which is a testament to the health and safety measures we implemented and the diligence of our faculty, staff and students.”


Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, University of Kansas

School is set to start in just over a month. Diepenbrock says the health department offers free vaccinations by walk-in weekdays from 1-5 p.m.

If you are a University of Kansas student and would like to sign the petition you can do so here.

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