COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Students

July 11, 2021

7/13/2021 – A message from Dr. Bruce Murphy, President of Centenary University


Purpose:   

This policy details the COVID-19 vaccine and immunization record requirements for all Centenary University students to minimize outbreaks of COVID-19 amongst faculty, staff, administrators and students alike; to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among all persons at Centenary University; and to promote the public health of the community consistent with federal, State, and local efforts to stem the pandemic.

Definitions:

COVID-19:    COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus discovered in 2019.

COVID-19 immunization:   Administration of a complete series of any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in the United States by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of the date of this policy, there are currently three COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use and recommended by the ACIP: two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) and one viral vector vaccine (Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]).

Exemption: The process of freeing or state of being free from an obligation imposed on others.

Policy:           

All students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present evidence of COVID-19 immunization by August 15, 2021.  Any (student’s) evidence of immunization, if not already done so, must be uploaded to the Student Health Portal @ https://centenary.studenthealthportal.com

This policy is subject to change based on factors such as the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance from governmental authorities.

Rationale:     
  • Continued risk of transmission including new variants, that could lead to serious illness and death
  • Decrease in percentage of vaccinated individuals in the college age range
  • Interest of students to return to normal college life and operations
  • Recommendation by Center on Disease Control (CDC), Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and local Warren County Department of Health
  • Best practice in the New Jersey state 4 year institutions
Exemptions: 

Medical exemption:
A student seeking exemption from required immunizations for a medical reason must submit a written (and signed) statement from their healthcare provider on their healthcare provider’s letterhead which indicates that the immunization is medically contraindicated as enumerated by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The statement must specify the period of time the student is exempt. When the student’s medical condition permits immunization, the medical exemption shall thereupon terminate. Medical exemptions must be updated annually by the student and their health care provider, and must be re-submitted to the https://centenary.studenthealthportal.com

Religious:
A student seeking exemption from required immunizations for a religious reason must submit a written statement signed by the student (or parent/legal guardian if the student is a minor) explaining how the administration of a vaccine conflicts with the student’s religious beliefs. This written statement will be kept as part of the student’s health records.  Religious exemptions must be updated annually by the student and must be re-submitted to the https://centenary.studenthealthportal.com

Conscientious Objection:
A student seeking exemption from required immunizations requests due to a firm, fixed, and sincere objection to the COVID-19 vaccination, by reason of training and/or belief, including essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views must complete an exemption request form that will be kept as part of the student health records. Requests for conscientious objection exemption must be submitted to the https://centenary.studenthealthportal.com All Conscientious Objection requests will be reviewed by the University President.

Fully online students’ exemption:
Any student who is not fully vaccinated by August 15, 2021 and who participates solely in online classes, shall have not been physically present on campus and will be ineligible to participate in any in-person event and/or activity on campus or enter any University owned or operated facility unless and until such time as the student is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and presents evidence of such immunization as set forth above.  Requests for exemptions must be submitted to the https://centenary.studenthealthportal.com

*The University reserves the right to request further documentation if needed to assess the request. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Process for exemption:

Students must submit written request via the student health portal. Requests for medical and religious exemptions will be reviewed by a committee comprised of Health Services and the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student or designee. Requests for conscientious objection exemption will be reviewed by the University President.

A waiver, if granted, will be applicable for one academic year.  A new waiver request must be submitted for each subsequent academic year (or upon expiration date.)

Unvaccinated student health and safety protocol:

Those individuals who are granted an exemption will be subject to heightened health and safety protocols, in ongoing efforts to protect the community from the risk of COVID-19. Examples of such increased health and safety measures include but are not limited to:

  • Mask requirement indoors at all times.
  • Weekly screening testing requirement through Health Services.
  • Continue to conduct daily symptom tracking when reporting to campus. For the Fall semester, the Campus Clear app can be utilized and hard copies will be available in the Welcome Center.
  • Unvaccinated students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for the duration of the isolation period in accordance with CDC and University guidelines.
  • Unvaccinated individuals must continue to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 as dictated by the CDC and University guidelines. Unvaccinated residential students will be required to quarantine in a designated facility on campus.
  • Unvaccinated individuals must continue to quarantine when traveling internationally and to areas designated by the CDC.
  • Unvaccinated student-athletes may be required to mask and socially distance during athletic activities.
  • In the event of an outbreak among our campus community, unvaccinated students may be sent home and remain off campus until the outbreak is over.

*Consequence for Noncompliance: Unvaccinated students who do not comply with the additional protocols outlined will face disciplinary action through the University code of conduct process.

Masks:

Masks are a proven method of reducing transmission of not only COVID-19 but other communicable viruses. Therefore, mask will still be required of specific employees wherein the exposure is increased including Health Services, Food Services, Athletic Training and during COVID-19 testing. Additionally, members of our community are welcome to continue wearing masks and should not be considered as an indication of vaccination status.

Communication:

Information regarding vaccination status is not protected by HIPAA and therefore may be shared by those campus constituents who need the information to conduct operations. In all cases, discretion will be applied.

This document was prepared after reviewing and benchmarking best practices developed by the following, which also provides information on how to secure the COVID vaccine:

COVID-19 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Vaccine Recommendations | CDC

COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub

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