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Western Michigan University vaccine mandate for athletes still being blocked

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday extended his order blocking Western Michigan University from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement against 16 athletes.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney issued a ruling from the bench granting the athletes the right to continue to compete and participate in intercollegiate athletics until he issues an opinion and order on converting a temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction.

Unlike other Michigan universities, Western’s vaccine requirement does not extend to all students and employees, although the unvaccinated must undergo weekly coronavirus testing. The athletes say they were denied religious exemptions to play without getting a dose.

“We appreciate Judge Maloney’s ruling that will allow all the student-athletes to continue to be part of their teams, be with their teammates, and compete for WMU at the highest level in a safe manner.,” said David Kallman, an attorney for the athletes.