KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Hundreds of Western Michigan University students have been fined by the school since its new COVID-19 testing policy took effect on Jan. 10.
Last month, the university announced it will start fining students who miss their weekly tests. Students in the weekly testing protocols are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. WMU said in order to be considered fully vaccinated, a booster shot is required.
A school official told News Channel 3 that students had been fined $60,050 as of Tuesday afternoon and that money would be used to offset COVID-19 testing costs.
For those who miss a test, they'll be fined $50 for the first five misses. Then, the fine will increase to $100 for each miss after that. Once a student owes more than $300, the individual cannot register for classes, according to the school.
“I knew the school would have ups and downs trying to handle it,” said sophomore Dayton Porter.
“There might be some instances where testing might be a little inconvenient for students, but I think its the best way to do things,” said senior Giselly Silva.
During week one of the spring semester, 678 students were fined for missing weekly tests. In week two, the number dropped to 523. Some of them were people who were fined twice, according to WMU.
“We've been in the pandemic nearly two years now. We have to start holding the school more accountable,” Porter said.
Porter said the school fining students for missing their required tests is a step in the right direction.
“Mandatory vaccinations on campus for all students, I think we're pretty far behind. Right now, to start the process, that is where we should begin,” he said.
Silva said while she is fully vaccinated herself, students should have a choice if they want to get vaccinated.
“I know the importance of the vaccine, but I feel like a fine is a little too much,” she said. “Everyone has an opinion and they have their own choice."
The university has updated its COVID-19 policies for isolation, and you can view them on the school’s website. You can also get up to date COVID information on the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.