Pomona College to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination for Staff and Faculty (7/28/21)

Highlights

  • Pomona College will require that all faculty and staff receive the vaccine for COVID-19 as a condition of employment. The vaccine mandate will take effect Aug. 23.
  • Staff and faculty will have options to apply for medical, religious and disability exemptions, as well as an option to defer until the FDA provides approval of one of the three vaccines in use in the U.S.
  • Unvaccinated employees with approved exemptions/deferrals will be required to wear masks indoors (even after the mask mandate is lifted by public health authorities) and will be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis.

Dear staff and faculty:

Los Angeles County is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant. The most effective way to prevent COVID-19 infections and mitigate its spread is to have as many members of our community vaccinated as possible. The COVID-19 vaccination has proven to be safe and effective, even against variants. The vast majority – over 99% – of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in LA County and across the country are occurring in un-vaccinated populations and the likelihood of breakthrough infections for vaccinated people is less than 1% (and mostly without symptoms or very mild symptoms).

The COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by public health officials. The best way to protect our Pomona College community is to achieve as close to 100% vaccination rates among students, faculty and staff as possible. Given the rise of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, Pomona College is establishing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for faculty and staff. The policy will take effect on Aug. 23.

The College is requiring that all faculty and staff receive the vaccine for COVID-19 as a condition of employment. This policy applies to all Pomona faculty and staff regardless of whether and when they work on campus.

Pomona will honor valid exemptions for medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs, and will also allow for a deferral of this requirement until the FDA provides formal approval of at least one vaccine in use in the U.S. Application forms for exemptions and deferrals are available on Pomona’s portal (you must be logged in with your Pomona credentials.)

Unvaccinated employees with approved exemptions or a deferral will be required to:

  • Wear a mask indoors (even if Los Angeles County lifts the current mandate impacting all public areas in workplaces regardless of vaccination status) and
  • Get tested for COVID-19 on a regular schedule.

Failure to adhere to the College’s vaccine mandate and associated health protocols (masking and testing for unvaccinated individuals) could result in discipline up to and including termination.

For staff and faculty who are fully vaccinated and have uploaded their information, there are no actions needed at this time. You will not need to be routinely tested for COVID-19 and will not be required to wear masks once Los Angeles County (and any additional public health authorities requiring indoor masking) lifts the current mask mandate.

Timing of Vaccine Mandate Rollout

By Monday, Aug. 9, all faculty and staff should either:

  • Provide proof of having received the 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine; or
  • Apply for a medical, disability or religious exemption; or
  • Apply for a deferral of these requirements until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides full authorization of one of the three vaccines in use in the U.S.
  • Upon full FDA approval, faculty and staff with approved deferrals will have 30 calendar days to provide proof of being vaccinated.
  • To apply for an exemption or deferral, please complete the appropriate application and send it to brenda.rushforth@pomona.edu.

HR will let applicants for an exemption/deferral know whether their requests have been approved by Monday, Aug. 23.

The vaccine mandate will be effective Monday, Aug. 23. At that time, all faculty and staff (full time, part time, and temporary employees) will have either:

  • Provided proof of being fully vaccinated, received an approved medical or religious exemption; or
  • Have received approval for a deferral.

Prior to Aug. 23, any faculty or staff member who has not provided proof of being vaccinated must adhere to the College’s public health protocols (masking indoors and routine COVID-19 testing). After Aug. 23, any faculty or staff member who has an approved exemption or deferral must adhere to these same safety protocols.

For more information, visit our vaccine mandate FAQ.

For more information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, please visit GetVaccineAnswers.org

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

 

Rob Goldberg
VP, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer

Brenda Rushforth
AVP, Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer