Surgical Masks

Lawsuit settlement breaks down between unvaccinated students and Louisiana medical school

Three medical students sued a north Louisiana medical school for violating their COVID-19 vaccination requirements. 

Tuesday, the students sought to amend their complaint at a federal court in Monroe. They made new allegations that Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (VCOM), had instituted new discriminatory policies that only those who are not vaccinated could wear them. face masksIndoors, and submit to weekly COVID-19 test. The motion comes one-month after the judge. Approved a settlement that is not monetaryBoth sides agreed to it. 

As part of the proposed settlement, VCOM agreed to recognize coronavirus vaccine exemptions for students Rachel Lynn Magliulo, Matthew Shea Willis and Kristen Willis Hall, despite the school’s vaccine requirement for students and staff. The school also agreed not to keep students from completing their graduation classes. Students agreed to follow the guidelines. “reasonable safety measures” for unvaccinated individuals as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control, according to the proposed settlement, as long as those measures don’t conflict with Louisiana state law. 

According to the new filing, the school had implemented COVID-19 policies within days of the court’s approval. Students argue that everyone should be required to wear a uniform. mask on campus — not just unvaccinated people — because Ouachita Parish is an area of high transmission, according to the filing.

The CDC’s guidanceInstitutions of Higher Education: “For IHE’s where not everyone is fully vaccinated, CDC recommends universal masking indoors in public for all persons who are unvaccinated regardless of level of community transmission, and universal masking indoors in public for all persons (fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated) in areas of substantial or high transmission.” 

Matthew Willis, one student, alleges that VCOM wrongfully suspended him for violating its policy on masking. A letter dated November 12 and attached to the file, VCOM informed Willis that there were multiple complaints from students about his failure to wear a mask. maskWhile indoors and cited similar warnings in the past. 

The college is a privately owned institution that leases space on University of Louisiana Monroe’s campus. 

In their initial LawsuitThe students claimed that VCOM tried to force them to vaccinate under a COVID-19 mandate issued in July ahead of the new school year. The students said that after they threatened their lawsuit, VCOM backed off that initial requirement and said they could enroll but would have to disclose their unvaccinated status to classmates and couldn’t participate in clinical training required to graduate. 

U.S. District Court Terry Doughty granted temporary restraining orders to the students against VCOM for violating those restrictions in August. The judge ruled that VCOM was violating state law — which allows broadly for vaccination dissent among public school students of all ages. He said that VCOM could not prevent students who were not vaccinated from taking part in the training required to graduate under Louisiana law.

Also under last month’s proposed settlement, VCOM would be prohibited from telling any medical residency program that the three students have refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The students agreed to drop their lawsuit against VCOM and other staff members and not to take a position on whether VCOM violated the law by forcing them to take the COVID-19 vaccination.

Reached by email Wednesday, VCOM spokesperson Cindy Rawlins said the school’s lawyer was still reviewing the new filing and had not yet prepared a statement for the public.

Osteopathy is a medical specialty that emphasizes whole-person treatment. It tends to place more emphasis on physical therapies than on drugs and invasive treatments. A D.O. is awarded to graduates of an osteopathic medical school. An osteopathic medical school graduate receives a D.O. instead of the traditional M.D. Most physicians can still prescribe medications and perform surgeries. 

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