To all faculty, staff, and student employees,
As a major research university, the University of Mississippi receives federal contracts from the U.S. government. At present, the university is performing work on more than $91 million in active federal contracts.
The IHL Board voted earlier today to direct all universities to comply with the terms of an Executive Order issued last month by President Biden on “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” The order requires all federal contractors, such as the university, to comply with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force’s “COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.” The task force guidance requires all employees, including graduate and undergraduate student employees, working on or in connection with a federal contract to be vaccinated, and also requires all employees working in a covered contractor workplace to be vaccinated. The definition of the covered contractor workplace as outlined in the task force guidance is broad and covers all buildings and spaces on campus.
Time is limited to get vaccinated by deadline
In order to comply with the Executive Order and task force guidance, all University employees (including faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student employees) must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, 2021. The task force defined the term “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after receipt of the second shot of a two-dose series, or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine. Therefore, an employee who is not fully vaccinated at this time needs to receive the first shot of the Moderna vaccine by Oct. 27, the Pfizer vaccine by Nov. 3, and the appropriately timed second dose or the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine by Nov. 24 in order to become fully vaccinated by the deadline.
Providing proof of vaccination
Employees must provide the university with proof that they have been fully vaccinated. In the coming days, employees will receive information on how to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination for validation.
Accommodations will be provided to those who are not able to be vaccinated due to a disability or medical condition, or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Information on how to make this request will be forthcoming.
Those who have not provided the required proof of vaccination by Dec. 8, or who have not received an approved accommodation for the reasons cited above, will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence until they provide proof of vaccination. Employees who have a timely filed pending accommodation request as of Dec. 8 will be placed on paid leave pending resolution of their request. Employees who have not provided proof of vaccination or have not received an accommodation by Jan. 3, 2022 (unless the request is still pending review) may be separated from employment.
How to get vaccinated
Vaccines are widely available in Oxford from multiple providers. You can locate providers at vaccines.gov. Any fees associated with COVID vaccination are covered by insurance. In order to facilitate compliance with the Executive Order and task force guidance, the university is offering free COVID-19 vaccines at clinics on Oct. 26, 28, 29, and Nov. 2, 3, 9, 17, 19 and 30. These vaccines are offered for free to all faculty, staff, and students. Visit the university’s coronavirus vaccination page for information on clinic dates and times.
Additionally, University Health Center Pharmacy on the Oxford campus offers free Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines any weekday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on a walk-up basis. Anyone 18 and older is eligible for the J&J vaccine, and anyone 12 and older is eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Call (662) 915-5279 or email email@example.com for questions.
Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation on this critical matter for the university.
Glenn F. Boyce