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Important COVID-19 and flu season updates and reminders

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

septiembre 20, 2022

We are writing today to provide information about a change to our campus masking guidance and to share a few reminders about the important public health safety protocols that have helped us keep staff and students safely working and learning.

Masks: Effective immediately masks are optional, but encouraged, in all Medical School spaces except in the clinical wings on floors 2-7 of the Medical School building, the clinical research center and in iCELS. When in the clinical wings, clinical research center, iCELS or, of course, any UMass Memorial site, masks are required, consistent with the UMass Memorial Medical Center guidelines. The South Street campus is also mask optional. As before, we ask that you respect the decision of any colleague who continues to wear a mask while at work.

Flu vaccine requirement and COVID-19 booster: We continue to strongly recommend that anyone who is eligible for the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine receive this shot. Bivalent means that the booster targets both the most recent omicron subvariants, known as BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. We anticipate that UMass Chan will implement a requirement to receive the new COVID-19 booster and will provide additional information as we are able.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 booster recommendations are based on your age, the vaccine you first received and time elapsed since your last dose. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines. Any UMass Chan employee or student who previously received an approved medical or religious COVID-19 vaccine exemption does not need to reapply.

Importantly, if you do not feel well please do not come to campus. Follow the instructions on the UMass Chan coronavirus web page if you test positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19.

In addition, this year UMass Chan is once again requiring all members of our community to receive the annual flu vaccine by Dec. 15. Employee Health Services will be holding flu shot clinics at several locations beginning Monday, Oct. 3. Please click on this link to schedule an appointment. If you receive your flu vaccine elsewhere, follow the instructions below to submit your flu vaccine record.

Steps to Provide Proof of Influenza Vaccination Obtained Elsewhere or to Request an Exemption

Individuals who receive a flu vaccine through services other than Employee or Student Health Services (e.g. physician’s office or pharmacy) must provide proof of immunization to EHS/SHS by Dec. 15, 2022. Proof of immunization may be submitted in one of the following ways:

Email a photo or pdf of your proof of vaccination to employeeflumailbox@umassmemorial.org or StudentHealth@umassmemorial.org 

-OR-

Mail to UMass Memorial Medical Center Employee Health Services, 291 Lincoln Street, Suite 100, Worcester, MA 01605

Individuals who have a medical contraindication to the flu vaccine must complete this form and submit it to employeeflumailbox@umassmemorial.org or studenthealth@umassmemorial.org by Dec. 1, 2022 for their request to be considered. 

Individuals who have concerns about the flu vaccine due to deeply held religious beliefs should contact Matthew Lyford in UMass Chan Human Resources by emailing matthew.lyford@umassmed.edu.