POL-U1300.02 Requiring Proof Of COVID Vaccination Status (Interim)

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

September 16, 2021

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

This interim policy applies to all students and employees regardless of classroom or work location. The University recognizes that the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) poses significant health risks to non-vaccinated individuals, disruption to University activities and operations, and expense to control. This policy was developed during a time when all available COVID-19 Vaccinations are only available under FDA Emergency Use Authorization. At the time formal authorization is received, this policy will be reviewed and may be updated accordingly.

Overview

There is no overview for this policy.

Definitions

Department Heads

Individuals which have the primary responsibility and accountability for the management of a specific institutional unit or department (e.g. vice presidents, deans, chairs, and department directors).

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

Includes one of the following:

  1. Documentation of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or
  2. Documentation of one dose of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine, or
  3. Documentation of a completed vaccination series for any COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford).

SARS-CoV-2

A highly contagious viral respiratory disease that is potentially fatal.

Policy Statements

1. Vice Presidents Ensure Compliance

The Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs will ensure appropriate procedures are implemented and well communicated for employees. The Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services will ensure appropriate procedures are implemented and well communicated for students. All vice presidents and the President will take appropriate action to ensure the policy and procedures are followed in their respective areas.

2. Documentation of COVID-19 Vaccination Status is Required

Students and employees are required, at their own expense, to provide documentation satisfactory to the University of full COVID vaccination status starting with the Fall 2021 Academic term and related activities. (see procedures for students or employees). Official COVID Vaccination status declaration and waiver application forms will be provided by the University as appropriate.

As of the effective date of this policy, students are not allowed to participate in: in-person classes, on-campus activities, or move into University housing until they have provided documentation of full COVID vaccination status to the Student Health Center.

Non-compliance will be flagged in University systems for student notification and follow-up, student must submit required documentation to clear the system flag.

Employees hired on a permanent basis on or after the effective date of this policy must provide appropriate documentation of full COVID vaccination status to

Human Resources within 60 days of their hire date. Human Resources will communicate timelines to provide appropriate documentation to employees hired prior to the effective date of this policy.

All students and employees must follow all University COVID guidance, mitigation, and safety protocols.

3. Documentation Requirement May Be Waived

Students and employees may request the University waive the requirement to provide proof of COVID vaccination status for medical or religious reasons. Official waiver application forms will be provided by the University by request. Individuals with approved documentation waivers on file are considered to be in compliance with #2 above.

Waiver requests for students will be reviewed and approved by the Associate Director of the Student Health Center. Waiver requests must be made and approved prior to participating in in-person classes, on-campus activities, or moving into University housing.

Waiver requests for employees will be reviewed and approved by Human Resources. Completed waiver requests must be submitted as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after the hire date. Human Resources will notify hiring officials of those employees granted a waiver.

The University may designate additional requirements for specific in-person programs, activities, or courses to have all participants vaccinated because the risk of contracting COVID-19 to the participants simply cannot be mitigated without jeopardizing the essential nature of the program, course, or activity. This may impact an unvaccinated individual’s opportunity to directly participate in these activities.

4. Individuals Report Known or Suspected COVID-19 Infections

In compliance with POL-U1000.12 Reporting Communicable Diseases, vaccinated or unvaccinated students or employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have had close contact with individuals who have lab-confirmed COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms, will inform the appropriate University administrator as follows:

  1. Students should inform the Student Health Center of a known or suspected COVID-19 infection.  Administrators, faculty, or staff members who become aware of a known or suspected COVID-19 infection involving a student should inform the Student Health Center.
  2. Employees should inform both their healthcare provider and supervisor of a known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Supervisors should contact Human Resources for institutional guidance and Human Resources will notify the Student Health Center.

Students and employees should discontinue attending in-person classes, in-person campus activities, and on-site work until they are medically cleared to return by the Student Health Center or Human Resources, as appropriate.

5. Official SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak to be Declared and Revoked by University President

On February 29, 2020, Governor Inslee declared a State of Emergency in the state of Washington for COVID-19. This Proclamation was then amended on March 13, 2020, to prohibit all public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs, and similar schools and programs from conducting in-person classes in all counties of Washington State.

At the time this policy was written, the State of Emergency in the state of Washington for COVID-19 was still in effect. Although COVID infections and hospitalizations have declined with expanded vaccination efforts, outbreaks of COVID-19 among unvaccinated individuals are still possible.

If such an outbreak is identified within the campus community, an official outbreak will be declared and said declaration revoked by the University President upon recommendation by the Associate Director of the Student Health Center and the Whatcom County Health Department. For WWU sites not independently controlled by Western, official outbreak declarations will be made in coordination with the University President, Associate Director of the Student Health Center, site leadership (WWU and Partners), and appropriate County and State Health Officials. The status of officially declared outbreaks will be posted by University Communications on the University’s website.

6. Certain Students and Employees are Prohibited in the Event of Outbreak

In an effort to protect the health and safety of the Western community and to speed the return to more normal in-person operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Western implemented a COVID vaccination requirement for all students and employees before returning to campus for the Fall 2021 Quarter. At the time this policy was written, the COVID-19 pandemic had not yet been resolved. During this period, students and employees with approved documentation (either proof of COVID vaccination status or an approved COVID vaccination waiver form) will be allowed to report to work, attend in-person classes, reside in University housing, and participate in on-campus activities.

However, if a COVID-19 outbreak, as defined in Section #4, were to occur, students and employees who have been approved for a COVID vaccine waiver or who have not provided appropriate documentation will be prohibited from physically remaining at or reporting to on-site work, attending in-person classes, living in University housing, and participating in on-campus activities. This restriction from Western’s campuses will be in effect until the official outbreak declaration is revoked, or until appropriate documentation of full COVID vaccination status is received.

The Assistant Vice President of Human Resources is responsible for notifying these employees and their department heads of the COVID outbreak and the requirement to leave campus. Department heads are then responsible for ensuring that such employees are not allowed to physically remain at or return to work on-campus until the outbreak has officially been revoked. The Associate Director of the Student Health Center is responsible for providing similar notification to affected students.

The Associate Director of Student Health and the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources will work with Western campus site directors and the appropriate health department authorities to ensure the student or employee restriction from Western sites is appropriately addressed where applicable.

Human Resources may grant limited exceptions allowing unvaccinated employees designated as Essential Personnel to work onsite based on critical operational and/or safety needs. Human Resources will evaluate requests, in partnership with appropriate campus partners, based on the organizational need, availability of alternatives, availability of appropriate safety measures, and the overall facts and circumstances of each request.

7. Prohibited Employees and Students to Check Outbreak Status Daily

Employees and students prohibited from campus must check the status of the outbreak daily via the University website.

Upon notification that the outbreak has officially ceased:

  1. Prohibited students may resume in-person classes and return to University housing, and
  2. Prohibited employees must report to work on-site as assigned.

8. Remote Work May Be Approved for Prohibited Employees

Prohibited employees may request approval from their supervisors to work remotely full or part-time during the duration of the outbreak. Faculty work assignments will be negotiated via the Provost’s Office.

9. Employee Pay Status May Be Impacted

Prohibited overtime-eligible employees must use available accrued leave or leave without pay for any time not worked for full or partial days of .25 of an hour or greater.

Prohibited overtime-exempt staff and faculty during the duration of the restriction must use accrued leave if available for each full day absent. If no accrued is available, overtime-exempt staff and faculty must take leave without pay for each workweek where work is not performed.

10. Employment May Be Terminated

Permanent or probationary employees hired on or after the effective date of this policy may be terminated immediately after 60 days of employment if they have not:

  1. Provided proof of COVID vaccination status or
  2. Received an approved waiver.

Following policy implementation, non-compliant employees hired prior to the effective date of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement, handbook, or appointment letter.

11. Terminated Employees May be Reinstated

Employees terminated due to non-compliance with this policy may be reinstated without competition if proper documentation is made to Human Resources within 45 days of termination.