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WASHINGTON —  IU students will either have to get the coronavirus vaccine or skip this year at school.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to stop IU’s vaccine requirement for students and teachers. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has ties to Indiana, rejected the case outright.

A handful of IU students tried to argue that they have a right to make their own medical decisions. There is still a challenge making its way through the courts, but it will not be heard before classes start at the end of the month.

Barrett’s action marks the first time the justices have been asked to weigh in on the legality of a mandate that private and public entities increasingly believe will combat the spread of COVID-19.

The court challenge to the mandate is still in the process of being appealed. The decision issued by Barrett this week was only over blocking the mandate from taking effect while the court challenge progresses.

“IU is coercing students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in exchange for the discretionary benefit of matriculating at IU,” James Bopp, a lawyer for students who objected to the school’s requirement, told the Supreme Court in an emergency petition asking the justices to act by the end of this week.

Bopp said the students’ refusal is “based on legitimate concerns” including underlying medical conditions, having natural antibodies, and the risks associated with the vaccine.

Lower courts have ruled against the students, citing a Supreme Court decision from 1905, which said that a state may require vaccines against smallpox.