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COVID-19 VACCINE REQUIREMENT

For over 100 years, Mount St. Joseph University has delivered on two solemn promises: to provide students with a world-class education, and to do so in a safe, intellectually stimulating living-learning community.  In spite of the quickly spreading Delta variant, rising infection rates, and widely available vaccines – one of which has been fully approved by the FDA – the University community’s vaccination rates remain low, which places our ability to continue to deliver on these promises at risk.  We must take action now for the greater good of our community by requiring all students and employees to get vaccinated.

The University’s vaccine requirement for students and employees aligns with the University’s Catholic identity and mission.  Appearing in a video, Pope Francis shared that “[g]etting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable. I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love.” 

If there is one thing that we know to be true, it is that Mount Lions care deeply for one another.  By requiring each student and employee to make a small gesture of love by getting vaccinated, in the words of the Holy Father, we ensure a better future for all of us.  

Student and Employee Proof of Vaccination Deadlines:

Mount St. Joseph University is requiring all current students and employees to be fully vaccinated and to submit their proof of vaccination to the University by December 15, 2021, unless they have obtained a University-approved exemption by making an exemption request prior to November 1, 2021.

Failure to meet the December 15, 2021 deadline will not affect a student’s enrollment status for the current 2021 fall semester.  Unvaccinated students will be permitted to provisionally register for the 2022 spring semester beginning November 8, 2021.  Unvaccinated students must become fully vaccinated and submit their proof of vaccination to the University by December 15, 2021 or they will be canceled from their 2022 spring semester classes.

All future students and employees must be fully vaccinated prior to commencing classes or work, unless they have obtained a University-approved exemption.

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement:

  What constitutes proof of vaccination status?

Official documentation (i.e., the vaccination card you received from the provider who administered your vaccine) that shows an FDA- or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, including vaccines approved under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA or WHO. Proof of vaccination can also be obtained from your state immunization registry or the provider that administered the vaccine.

  Which vaccines meet the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement?

To meet the requirement, students may show proof of vaccination from any COVID-19 vaccine that has FDA full approval (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Emergency Use Authorization (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson / Janssen). Additionally, World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing vaccines will meet the requirement, including the previous vaccines as well as AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac-CoronaVAC.

  How do I submit my proof of vaccination?

Students submit proof of vaccination to the University’s Wellness Center by emailing Wellness.Center@msj.edu.  Employees submit proof of vaccination to the University’s Office of Human Resources by emailing Human.Resources@msj,edu.

  Is there any exemption from the vaccination requirement?

The University may provide exemptions when a student or employee is unable to comply with this policy for medical or religious/moral reasons. The University also considers and facilitates students’ requests for exemptions from any COVID-19 vaccine requirements imposed by various external businesses and organizations (“External Partners) as a condition of the student’s placement in their business, organization, or facilities.   The University reserves the right to approve or deny requests based on its legitimate operational, academic and other nondiscriminatory interests and in accordance applicable law.  

To request an exemption, students and employees must complete the Exemption Request and Waiver Form and submit it to the Wellness Center at Wellness.Center@msj.edu (students) or Office of Human Resources at Human.Resources@msj.edu (employees). 

 

Please note that requesting an exemption does not guarantee that the request will be approved.

  Does the vaccine requirement apply to all students and employees?

The vaccine requirement applies to all students and employees except those students enrolled in fully online courses or programs who are not required to be present on campus for any portion of a class or program (including but not limited to high school dual enrollment students) or employees with positions that do not require presence on campus at any time or for any reason.   

  What happens if a current student (enrolled as of September 13, 2021) does not comply with the vaccine requirement?

The vaccination requirement applies to all students registering for the 2022 spring semester and beyond. Current students who are not compliant with the vaccination requirement as of December 15, 2021 will be removed from their spring 2022 classes and will not be permitted to attend the University beginning January 10, 2022.

  How will the University protect my privacy after I submit my proof of vaccination?

Vaccination status of students and employees will be kept confidential by the University consistent with applicable laws. 

  How long will the University impose the COVID-19 vaccine requirement on students and employees?

The University reserves the right to modify this policy and/or to change vaccination requirements at any time in response to changing circumstances.

  I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I need to comply with the vaccination requirement?

Yes, according to the CDC, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.

 

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Contact the Wellness Center or the Office of Human Resources, as applicable, if this applies to you.  Talk to your healthcare provider if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

  Will vaccinated students and employees be required to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID-19?

No. Students and employees who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19.  Please note that students and employees who are granted an exemption rather than receiving the vaccine will be required to participate in surveillance testing, quarantine in accordance with CDC guidance if contact tracing determines they came into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, and any other University-wide protocols related to COVID-19 mitigation.

  Will COVID-19 booster shots be required of students and employees?

Student and employees must maintain their full vaccination by getting a “booster” at the intervals recommended by the CDC, and state or local departments of health, including as necessary for protection against variants.  Student and employees have 30 days from the recommended booster date to comply.  If limited vaccine availability prevents a person from obtaining a booster, please notify the Wellness Center or Office Human Resources, as applicable, for assistance in advance of your deadline. Failure to maintain vaccination as required, or failure timely to provide proof, is a violation of the University’s vaccine requirement policy.

  How can I get vaccinated?

Students and employees may schedule their own vaccinations through outside sources.  To find a vaccine location, please visit the CDC”s website or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.

Students should schedule their vaccinations outside of class time.  Employees should schedule their vaccination outside of work hours, whenever possible.  

  What will it cost me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Students and employees will not have to pay out of pocket for a COVID-19 vaccine, whether you have insurance or not.  Vaccinations are free to all persons in the United States.  If you have health insurance, vaccinations must be run through your health insurance first.

 

Unreimbursed costs associated with a vaccination appointment are extremely rare. Students and employees are expected to use reasonable care avoid such costs whenever possible   Before incurring any cost, please contact the Wellness Center or Office of Human Resources, as applicable, if you have reason to believe your vaccination will result in an out-of-pocket cost to you.  In the extremely unlikely circumstance that out of pocket costs are unavoidable, as determined by the Wellness Center or Office of Human Resources in advance, students may submit authorized uncovered costs to the Wellness Center to request reimbursement and employees may submit any authorized uncovered costs to their manager to request reimbursement.

  What happens if an employee (currently an employee as of September 13, 2021) does do not comply with the vaccine requirement?
Any current employee without a University-approved exemption who fails to provide proof of receipt of ALL prescribed doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 15, 2021 may be immediately terminated without prior notice.
  If I already submitted my proof of vaccine to the University, do I need to do it again?
Some students and employees may have already provided proof of their vaccine to the Wellness Center or Office of Human Resources as part of the vaccine registration process implemented earlier this year.  If that is the case, you do not have to resubmit proof at this time. However, if you did not submit “proof” of your full vaccination status or if you are unsure if you submitted proof of full vaccination as required by the University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, you should send an email with a copy of your vaccine card to Wellness.Center@msj.edu (students) or Human.Resources@msj.edu (employees) at your earliest convenience to ensure timely compliance. 
  If I have provided proof of full vaccination to the University, do I still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and comply with other COVID-19 protocols while on campus?

Students and employees who are fully vaccinated:

  • Are still required wear facial coverings while indoors on campus and at University-sponsored events, except in limited circumstances as set forth in the University’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines.
  • Are not required to socially distance on campus or while attending University-sponsored events.
  • Are not required to report a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 exposure to the University as long the fully vaccinated person has no COVID-19 symptoms and has not been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Are not required to quarantine or get tested after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 exposure as long the fully vaccinated person has no COVID-19 symptoms and has not been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Are not required to participate in the University’s surveillance testing protocols.

Regardless of vaccination status, no person should come to campus for any reason if the person is sick or experiencing any symptoms that have not been diagnosed as something other than a contagious illness (including but not limited to, COVID-19).

  Who is eligible for an exemption to the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy?

Exemptions may be granted when a student or employee is unable to comply with the policy due to health or religious/moral reasons. Not all health conditions or religious positions will qualify for an exemption, and the University reserves the right to approve or deny requests based on its legitimate operational, academic and other nondiscriminatory interests and in accordance applicable law.

  

A certification from the student’s or employee’s healthcare provider is necessary to support a health-related exemption request.  The CDC recognizes the following as contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccines:  severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) after a previous dose or to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine or immediate (with 4 hours of exposure) allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose or known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of the vaccine.  The CDC recognizes that other conditions may constitute a precaution for the COVID-19 vaccine warranting delayed vaccination.  In many cases, the vaccine may still be indicated in the presence of a precaution if the benefit of the protection from the vaccine outweighs the risk for an adverse reaction. Therefore, the University will review all health-related exemptions on a case-by-case basis. 

 

A notarized statement of the student’s or employee’s sincerely held religious or moral belief preventing them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine must be provided to support requests for exemptions for religious or moral reasons.  The University also carefully reviews these requests on a case-by-case basis in light of all relevant information and circumstances.  Most religious doctrines do not prohibit COVID-19 vaccines, and, in fact, recognize vaccinations as a sign of love and respect for others and an important tool for the preservation and protection of human life.  The University encourages students and employees to talk to their religious leaders about whether their religious or moral beliefs prohibit the COVID-19 vaccine and they should obtain all necessary information about the development, ingredients, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine from reliable, accurate sources. 

 

Students and employees requesting an exemption for any reason must be aware of the benefits and risks of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and risks of not being immunize and agree to be responsible for all consequences that may result from the exemption, including impairment of their health or delay in academic/graduation progression. 

 

  What is the deadline for current students and employees to request an exemption to the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy?
Current students and employees must request an exemption by November 1, 2021 to be considered.  Certain departments or programs may establish deadlines for students to apply for a COVID-19 exemption that are prior to November 1, 2021—please consult your department chair or program leader if you plan to apply for an exemption and be sure to submit your request as soon as possible.  Certain employees may need to apply earlier as well, such as if they interact with an outside organization on behalf of the University that also requires vaccines.
  What does it mean to have a University-approved exemption to the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy?
If a student or employee is granted an exemption from the University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, the person is not required to get a COVID-19 vaccination or your deadline for getting the COVID-19 vaccine may be extended, as indicated in your exemption approval letter from the University.  In exchange for an exemption, students and employees release the University from any and all responsibility for any harm that may result because of a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, including any impairment of health, increased educational costs, delayed academic/graduation progression, and/or lost work opportunity.  Exempted students and employees also agree to strictly follow all other University COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and will be required to continue to participate in the University’s surveillance testing program.  Exempted students and employees may be required to comply with additional or different procedures as a reasonable accommodation to the vaccine requirement.   
  Why did the University implement the COVID-19 Vaccine policy?
There is no single reason for the University’s policy.  The University remains committed to a positive, thriving, and healthy in-person campus environment for all Mount students, faculty, and staff this academic year.  The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most effective public health measures for minimizing the spread of, and severe illness and death caused by, COVID-19.  In August 2021, Federal Drug Administration granted full approval to the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) and other approvals are expected to follow.  This policy also aligns with the University’s Catholic identity and mission and helps protect the health and well-being of the entire Mount community and beyond.  
  What should I do if I have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or the University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Policy?

If you are unsure which vaccine to get or if you have any health-related questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, please consult your health care provider immediately. 

 

The Wellness Center staff remains available to speak with students and can be reached at Wellness.Center@msj.edu.  The staff in the Office of Human resources remains available to speak with employees and can be reached at Human.Resources@msj.edu

  Will there be any additional changes to the University’s operations or COVID-19 protocols this year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be an evolving situation requiring frequent analysis and reevaluation of existing policies and procedures as new information, recommendations, research, and data becomes available.  The University reserves the right to modify any of its policies, including but not limited to the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy and the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, at any time in response to changing circumstances or business needs.  Students and employees will be informed of any changes through email and updates will be posted on the University’s website.  Please check these resources regularly for up-to-date information.   

UNIVERSITY COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES AND POLICIES

The Mount St. Joseph University COVID-19 Safety Guidelines (Guidelines) are a University policy that applies to all students, employees, and visitors as well as to all aspects of campus operations. The Guidelines are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the University community and beyond, and are predicated on individual responsibility to adhere to all requirements. The Guidelines have been developed considering recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other health agencies and will be updated as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

The University provides resources to students and employees related to all aspects of COVID-19 through the COVID-19 Resource Page on myMount, which is maintained by the University’s Wellness Center.  For more information or for specific questions to be answered about COVID-19 policies and protocols at the University, students should contact the Wellness Center at Wellness.Center@msj.edu and employees should contact the Office of Human Resources at Human.Resources@msj.edu.

University News about COVID-19