July 23, 2021

Volume XI, Number 204

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New Ohio Law Restricts Ability of Public Schools, Colleges to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations

Public schools and universities are barred from requiring vaccines that have not received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval under Ohio House Bill 244 (HB 244), signed by Governor Mike DeWine on July 14, 2021. The new law goes into effect on October 13, 2021.

The three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. were approved through an emergency use authorization (EUA), and do not have the FDA’s full approval as of this writing. Accordingly, unless the FDA grants full approval for any of the vaccines before the law’s effective date, Ohio public schools and state higher educational institutions will be prohibited from requiring COVID-19 vaccines until those vaccines get the FDA’s full approval.

Nondiscrimination

The new law also prohibits public schools and state universities from “[d]iscriminating against an individual who has not received a vaccine (that has not received full FDA approval) … including by requiring the individual to engage in or refrain from engaging in activities or precautions that differ from the activities or precautions of an individual who has received such a vaccine.”

Public schools and universities, therefore, cannot keep unvaccinated students or employees from any activities open to vaccinated individuals or require unvaccinated individuals to adhere to protocols, presumably, such as social distancing or wearing facial coverings, unless those protocols also apply to vaccinated individuals.

Private Institutions; Exemptions

Private schools and universities are not covered under HB 244 and the law exempts hospitals or other healthcare facilities owned or operated by, or affiliated with, a state higher education institution.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 201
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About this Author

Patricia Anderson Pryor, Class Action, Litigator
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Patricia Anderson Pryor is a Shareholder in the Cincinnati, Ohio office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Pryor is an experienced litigator in both state and federal courts, representing and defending employers in nearly every form of employment litigation, including class actions.

She represents and advises employers in federal and state administrative proceedings, in all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, and in managing all aspects of the employment relationship. She has represented...

513-322-5035
Katharine Weber, JacksonLewis Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Principal

Ms. Weber has experience litigating wrongful discharge cases; managing discrimination cases; negotiating collective bargaining agreements; representing employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal, Ohio and Kentucky agencies; advising management on employment relations; drafting employee handbooks; and negotiating severance agreements.

Ms. Weber regularly advises clients on wage and hour issues. Over the past five years she has served as lead counsel on various wage and hour class and...

513-898-0050
Alessandro Botta Blondet Labor & Employment Attorney Jackson Lewis Cincinnati, Ohio
Associate

Alessandro Botta Blondet is an Associate in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including litigation, preventive advice, and counseling.

During law school, Mr. Botta Blondet served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Michael R. Barrett of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He was also a Notes and Comments editor for the University of Cincinnati Law Review and a research assistant for Professor Sandra Sperino, a distinguished labor and...

513-898-0050
Tara Burke Employment lawyer Jackson Lewis
Of Counsel

Tara K. Burke is Of Counsel in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She works with employers to build positive and inclusive workplaces and reduce legal risk through policy development, training, and employment law counseling.  

Ms. Burke provides practical and legal advice to clients on employment law issues including harassment and discrimination prevention, diversity and inclusion, hiring and interviewing, internal investigations, disability accommodation and leave management, reductions in force, individual separations and employee relations...

513-322-5027
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