COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement & Reporting
for University Employees

Effective Aug. 26, 2021
UPDATED SEPT. 22, 2021
updated nov. 16, 2021

 

Purpose

On Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 years and older. COVID-19 vaccines are an effective and critical tool to combat COVID-19 and allow for another successful year of in-person, residential education. According to the CDC, the vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective. Current data also suggests that vaccinated individuals are less likely to become infected—even by the Delta variant—and the vaccines are highly effective against the most severe consequences of COVID-19.

In accordance with University of the South’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, we are adopting the following policy to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our students, visitors, and the community at large. This policy is based on guidance from the University’s Public Health Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and follows the recommendation of the American College Health Association. 

Requirement

Unless granted an exemption, all full-time and part-time University of the South-employed faculty and staff (employees) are required to have either at least one shot of a two-dose regimen (for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Oct. 8, 2021. (Updated Sept. 22)

Before the stated deadline to be vaccinated expired, employees were required to provide either proof of vaccination or an approved reasonable accommodation to be exempted from the requirement. Effective Nov. 16, employees who have not already demonstrated compliance or received an exemption must attest that they are in compliance with the vaccination requirement.

After the stated deadline, employees not in compliance with this policy will be placed on administrative leave or suspension for up to ninety (90) days and, for those not vaccinated at the end of the administrative leave or suspension, their employment will be terminated in accordance with disciplinary procedures for the respective employees.

Employees who submit fraudulent or illegitimate vaccination records may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Procedures

Getting a Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccinations are free, whether an employee has health insurance or not, and vaccination locations can be found using VaccineFinder

All employees will be paid for time taken to receive vaccinations in accordance with current leave policies.

Additionally, the University has been conducting on campus vaccination clinics (COVID-19 and influenza) in cooperation with Walgreens. Future clinics are scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 29, Oct. 4, Oct. 6, and Oct. 8 in Room 203 in the Wellness Commons.

Reporting

Once a first vaccination is received, and when you are fully vaccinated (having received the full series of shots required by the vaccine’s manufacturer), employees must attest that they are in compliance with the vaccination requirement; they are requested to upload a copy of their documentation to this HIPAA-compliant portal. Employees who need assistance uploading their documentation should contact the Office of Human Resources. 

Aggregate vaccination data are used to update the University's COVID-19 dashboard to reflect testing and vaccination data for the academic year, with the goal of providing accurate information both internally and externally.

Requesting an Accommodation

Employees in need of an exemption from this policy due to a medical reason or because of a sincerely held religious belief were to have submitted a request for medical or religious accommodation by contacting the Office of Human Resources at hr@sewanee.edu no later than Sept. 8.

Two additional medical exemptions may be granted. Employees must contact the Office of Human Resources to inquire about these additional extensions (Updated Sept. 22):

  • A temporary medical accommodation may be granted if an employee’s physician recommends that their vaccination takes place at some point following the Oct. 8 deadline due to a medical condition.
  • An accommodation may be granted for an employee who has a confirmed appointment with their physician specifically to discuss options regarding vaccination after the Oct. 8 deadline. 

Accommodations will be granted where they do not cause the University undue hardship or pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others. However, there is no guarantee that an accommodation will be granted. 

Employees granted an accommodation for exemption may be required to participate in ongoing COVID-19 screening testing at frequencies determined by the University. Screening testing of an employee with an approved exemption is provided at no cost to the employee and the employee is paid for all time spent testing.

Retaliation Prohibited

The University of the South strictly prohibits retaliation against any employee who makes a good faith request for exemption from vaccination, regardless of whether the exemption is granted. Any employee found to have engaged in retaliation against an employee who makes a valid request for an exemption will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Employees who submit fraudulent or illegitimate requests for exemption from the vaccine may also be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. To report instances of retaliation or fraudulent documentation, contact the Office of Human Resources.

Vaccine Boosters

All employees should monitor email and University communications carefully in order to learn whether vaccine boosters may become an additional University requirement upon authorization of a booster dose by the FDA and recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.