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UMass Medical School statement on COVID-19 vaccination requirement for faculty, staff and students

UMass Medical School Communications

August 11, 2021

UMass Medical School will implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all UMMS faculty and staff.

The requirement for faculty and staff is consistent with the vaccination requirement for students already in place and will apply to all vendors and visitors who work on or come to campus.

This step reflects our highest priority, which is to protect the health and safety of our campus and broader communities. The decision follows months of thoughtful deliberation and monitoring of the pandemic; evaluation of data, including infection trends; and, more recently, the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Consistent with existing policy, medical and religious accommodations will be considered.

The requirement applies to all faculty and staff employees of UMass Medical School, regardless of whether working on campus, in a hybrid model or remotely.

Proof of vaccination for those faculty and staff who are already vaccinated must be provided. If vaccination documentation is not provided by Sept. 7, the employee ID badge will be deactivated, restricting access to campus, and the employee must consult with their manager to determine if the alternative arrangements are feasible until the employee can be vaccinated. Employees who have not received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 7 may be subject to employer actions up to and including termination.

Faculty and staff who wish to request a medical or religious exemption based on a medical contraindication or sincerely held religious belief may do so. Exemption requests will require the employee to submit supporting documentation.

In requiring vaccination for faculty, staff and students, UMMS is upholding its responsibility as an academic health sciences institution to apply scientific evidence and ensure that we are taking all practical measures to protect our community. The CDC advises that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe infection, hospitalization and death: This is true even for the Delta variant.

Even if vaccinated, UMMS faculty, staff and students are still required to follow the campus COVID-19 protocols, including wearing a mask while indoors, participating in surveillance testing if they are on campus one or more days per week and following guidance on hygiene, isolation and quarantine.

These and other safety measures have helped UMMS maintain a low positivity rate of 0.15 percent, or 164 positive test results from the 107,829 tests administered as of Aug. 7.

Additional information is available on the Medical School’s coronavirus updates web page.