UT requiring employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18

The federal mandate does not require students who are not employed by the university to be vaccinated.
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 2:19 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:36 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Nearly all University of Tennessee employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 18, a letter from Chancellor Donde Plowman said.

According to the letter, since the university receives funding from the federal government, employees that the mandate applies to must be vaccinated. President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, which requires vaccinations, does not allow any alternatives, like frequent testing, to being vaccinated.

“The guidance does not include testing as an alternative to the vaccine requirement. Employees who have had a prior COVID-19 infection are also required by the Executive Order to be vaccinated,” the previous letter stated.

The vaccination mandate also covers employees who work closely with federally contracted employees, even if they do not work under a federal contract.

“We have determined that the federal vaccine mandate applies to nearly all UT Knoxville buildings and the people who work in them—including UTIA and UTSI facilities and employees—except athletics facilities, residence halls and Greek houses, recreational sports facilities, and a small number of other non-academic buildings. The federal mandate covers full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees, except those whose primary workplace falls into one of the exceptions, noted above,” the letter said.

To be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, each mandated employee must receive both doses of Moderna or Pfizer, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, by Jan. 4, 2022.

Those with legitimate medical excuses or religious beliefs are exempt from the mandate, the letter said.

The federal mandate does not require students who are not employed by the university to be vaccinated.

The university will follow CDC mask guidance; therefore, students and staff will be required to wear masks inside buildings.

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