ASU to require all employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

All University employees, including student workers, will be required to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or be granted accommodations by Dec. 8

ASU is now requiring all employees — including faculty, staff and student workers — to have the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 8. Employees may either show proof of vaccination or request an accommodation on medical or religious grounds. 

This comes in response to President Joe Biden’s executive order on Sept. 9 requiring all employees of federal contractors to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. 

"It is essential that Federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public," the order stated. "The CDC has found that the best way to do so is to be vaccinated."

Since ASU receives "hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding through grants and contracts every year," the University is subject to follow the federal mandate, University spokesperson Chris Fiscus said in an email. Continued use of these funds is "essential to ASU’s mission as a comprehensive public research university as well as to the Arizona economy," he wrote in an email.

Arizona's two other public universities, NAU and UA, announced on Friday similar vaccine requirements to comply with the federal order by Dec. 8.

Julie Newberg, a spokesperson for the Arizona Board of Regents — the state's governing body over the public universities — attributed the reason for the recent compliance announcement to government funds.

"The universities have hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts, funding critical research, employment and educational efforts," Newberg said in an email. "We respect individual opinions regarding the vaccine and will include disability (including medical) and religious accommodations consistent with federal rules."

As of mid-September, around 85% of faculty and 80% of staff were vaccinated against COVID-19. ASU has more than 20,000 employees, including faculty, staff and student workers, Fiscus wrote. 

Details on the mandate are still being finalized, Fiscus said, such as whether employees who don't receive vaccines will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing regularly, or what will happen if employees don't comply. The vaccine requirement does not impact students who do not hold University jobs.

Employees who wish to request medical or religious exemption can do so here, on the University's "Workplace accommodations" site. Employees and students can upload their vaccine status through their Health Portal.

Details are still being finalized by the University about specifics of the requirement and more details will come as Dec. 8 approaches. 

Editor Wyatt Myskow contributed to the reporting of this article.


Reach the reporter at mcfisch4@asu.edu and follow @morgfisch on Twitter.

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