To all faculty, staff, and student employees,
This message is an update for you on an important matter to all of our employees regarding COVID vaccination. Before getting into the details, I ask for your patience as we continue to receive and monitor updated guidance from officials in Washington, D.C., and we are now reaching out to share what we have learned with you.
I sent an email on Oct. 25 to all university employees regarding the federal Executive Order that requires COVID-19 vaccinations by December 8, 2021, for all employees working on federal contracts and employees working in federal contractor workplaces. Based upon the guidance available at that time, the university indicated that employees who had not provided proof that they were fully vaccinated or received a medical or religious accommodation by Dec. 8 would be placed on unpaid leave until they provided proof of vaccination. In addition, the message indicated that employees with pending accommodation requests would be placed on paid leave while the accommodation request was evaluated.
On Nov. 1, federal officials issued clarifying guidance that now permits us to allow unvaccinated employees to continue to work after the Dec. 8 deadline “through a limited period of counseling and education.” Under the new guidance, employees do not need to be removed from the workplace unless these efforts result in “continued noncompliance.” Consistent with the latitude provided by the new guidance, university employees who are not fully vaccinated as of Dec. 8 will be allowed to continue working and not be placed on a leave of absence.
Unvaccinated employees and those employees who have not submitted proof of vaccination will be permitted to continue to work and remain on the payroll until Jan. 3, 2022, while the university continues to counsel and educate these employees on the need to get vaccinated. Employees who are not fully vaccinated by Jan. 3 (and who have not demonstrated a good faith effort to become fully vaccinated by having received at least one dose of the vaccine of their choice) or who have not received an accommodation may be separated from employment. If you are separated from employment for failing to become fully vaccinated, you may be eligible for rehire to an open position if the vaccine mandate is ever rescinded.
Employees who have a pending accommodation request as of Jan. 3 will be allowed to continue working until review of their request is completed. If an accommodation request is denied, the employee will be given a reasonable period of time to act promptly and become fully vaccinated. Here are the links to get more information and learn how to submit a request for an accommodation:
Thank you for doing your part to help the university work toward compliance on this matter. I am mindful that these developments present a difficult challenge for some of you. We will continue to monitor further updates or clarification of the federal guidance, and we will continue to modify our plans to comply with the Executive Order based on new information.
Glenn F. BoyceChancellor