IU offers shot at free parking spot for students who get their COVID-19 vaccination

Indiana University is sticking with its policy of vaccinations for students, faculty and university staff with the start of the fall 2021 semester, but has relented on its demand for documentation.

Instead of demanding proof, IU is now trying a gentler approach—a drawing for prizes for IU affiliates who submit their documentation. The prizes vary for students, faculty and staff but include: $500 bookstore gift cards, campus dining credit, an Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro, among other items.

At Friday’s weekly press conference on local COVID-19 response, one of the prizes for students got an extra pitch from IU vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White: “Students will be eligible for—get this, hey—a year long free parking permit! Now what’s better than that for students?” The regular price for a student parking permit is $174.

The revision the university’s policy on vaccination  came after objections from several state legislators  and an opinion issued by the state’s attorney general.

Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita’s opinion  said IU’s approach to its policy requiring a COVID-19 vaccination violates a new state law that says neither the state nor local units can require an “immunization passport.” [HEA 1405]  From Rokita’s opinion: “Indiana University’s policy…unquestionably violates the new law.

The rate of new daily vaccinations in Monroe County continues to slow, as it has across the rest of the state. As of Friday, about 67,000 Monroe County residents have been vaccinated. The population of Monroe County is about 148,000.

The rolling average number of positive cases in Monroe County continues a slow decline, but is still considerably higher than it was a year ago. The current rolling average of about 5 cases a day compares to just 1 case a day a year ago.

The current positivity rate is about 2.5 percent, about a point higher than it was a year ago.

Asked during Friday’s news conference if the city of Bloomington might follow the university’s lead in offering a free parking lottery for vaccinated employees, mayor John Hamilton indicated that’s unlikely.

“We’ve focused on trying to reward everyone who is a city employee who’s gotten vaccinated with 100 bucks,” Hamilton said. The $100 benefit is part of the city’s wellness plan. On Friday Hamilton gave the updated number for employees who have filed for the $100 incentive as 454, which is over half.