The University will no longer require faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, per an email sent today to University employees by University President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operation Officer J.J. Davis and K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs.
Previously, all students, faculty and staff were required to be fully vaccinated, and the University announced a booster requirement prior to the start of the spring semester. Students, faculty and staff had to submit proof of their booster by Jan. 14. The deadline to upload proof of a booster was changed from Feb. 1 to Jan. 14 at the start of this month.
This comes following recently-inaugurated Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order which stipulates that no state agencies can require employees to be vaccinated or disclose vaccination status as a condition of their employment. As the University is a public institution, it falls under this new rule, which went into effect Jan. 15. This directive does not change the vaccination and booster requirement for students, which remains in place.
Per the University email, 99 percent of employees received their primary vaccinations, and 85 percent of academic division employees have reported booster shots.
“We will continue to strongly encourage anyone who has not done so already to get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible, “ the email reads. “We will also continue to offer testing resources for all community members, particularly unvaccinated people who have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and spreading the disease to others.”
Asymptomatic community members or those testing due to a COVID-19 exposure can schedule a test at no cost through BeSafe.
This rescission of the vaccination requirement does not apply to U.Va. Health employees that fall under Health System Policy OCH-002. The policy, which requires certain immunization and health screening compliance, includes everyone who provides clinical, educational, research and administrative services to U.Va. Health.
Youngkin’s directive also asks that the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management ensure vaccines and boosters remain available to state employees. The executive order is one of multiple actions taken by Youngkin which address health policies in Virginia schools, including rescinding mask mandates in K-12 schools.
This order has generated resistance from some parents and school districts, who have filed a lawsuit claiming the order violates a Virginia law that school boards must adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on COVID-19 mitigation. Some school districts, including Charlottesville City Public Schools, have kept their masking rules in place, citing the same state law.
The University will continue to require masks in University-owned spaces, including classrooms, libraries and IM-Rec facilities. Food and beverages are also prohibited at University and student organization-related events held on and off Grounds to ensure masking until Feb. 4.