Public Health Update for Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues:

Yesterday, Chancellor Subbaswamy shared with you important information about new health and safety efforts as we near the start of the fall term, including a requirement that all community members, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors over the next several weeks and a mandate that all faculty and staff be vaccinated. 

The decision to require a vaccination was made only after careful consideration. From a public health perspective, we know that the vaccine is the most important tool we have against COVID-19 and perhaps the best way to prioritize the safety of our community. The university then worked very closely with our labor unions to think through a vaccination requirement. Our labor unions, who have consistently throughout the pandemic prioritized the health and safety of their members, reached an agreement with the university last week to operationalize a vaccination requirement. The university appreciates their leadership on these issues. 

Vaccination Requirement

Faculty and staff who are not yet vaccinated are required to have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by August 16, 2021, and, if required by their vaccine’s protocols, a second dose of the vaccine by September 16, 2021. A failure to comply with the vaccination requirement will result in the faculty or staff member being placed on unpaid leave. Vaccines will continue to be administered on campus throughout August and early September. More information on the vaccination clinic

Vaccination Requirement Exemptions 

Individuals who wish to request a medical or religious-based exemption from the vaccination requirement may do so using the forms located on the HR Fall 2021 website.

Individuals with qualifying exemptions will be required to participate in weekly asymptomatic testing and comply with masking policies. 

Non-Compliance

Faculty and staff who have not been granted an exemption and do not meet the August 16 or September 16 deadlines will be placed on unpaid leave. Employees placed on leave are permitted to use accrued compensatory, personal, and vacation leave—but not sick leave – to remain in pay status. The leave will continue until proof of vaccination is provided to the university. 

Vaccination Documentation

The university will be tracking vaccination status in its confidential health hub system. The university has access to records of those who have received the vaccination within the Commonwealth. Individuals who have already received their vaccination outside of Massachusetts will receive an email from the health hub with detailed instructions on how to submit their vaccination information. 

We sincerely appreciate the efforts of our staff and faculty to do their part to promote the health of our community. To thank the community for its efforts to become fully vaccinated, the university will consider December 27 and 28, 2021 as additional campus closure days. 

Bill Brady
Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer 

John McCarthy 
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs