Federal order alters UO COVID-19 vaccination reporting process

UO entrance sign

Due to an order related to entities that have federal contracts, University of Oregon employees are required to provide vaccination documentation or designate their exemption request by Dec. 6.

The executive order, which was implemented after the UO originated its process, requires more details about an employee’s vaccination status, including a copy of the vaccination card or other medical record that provides immunization dates. Additionally, it only allows for medical and religious exemptions. Philosophical or other nonmedical reasons are no longer an option.

“The previous university reporting process helped us implement an important safety measure as we began the academic year with mostly in-person instruction and operations,” said Krista Dillon, director of operations for the Office of Safety and Risk Services. “Now, under the new regulations, we must adapt and request that employees take additional action. Continued patience and understanding as we to meet new criteria and comply with new regulations is greatly appreciated.”

The updated requirements also apply to graduate employees and student employees. Those employees have already provided vaccination records through the student reporting process. However, those with an exemption must provide a new exemption request.

“This summer, the responsiveness demonstrated by the UO community was impressive and helped pave our path to the start of the fall term,” said Mark Schmelz, chief human resources officer. “Collectively, we were able to provide added security under our safety measures by documenting over 95 percent of faculty, staff and students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  On behalf of university leadership, I want to acknowledge and appreciate the timely action of our employees and say thank you for helping us take our efforts one step further to comply with the federal order.”

Employees are instructed to gather and prepare their required documentation so it can be uploaded to the secure online form. Information and documents will be retained in accordance with applicable state and federal standards for confidentiality and protection of personal health information. Action steps and other important considerations, including frequently asked questions, are detailed on the UO coronavirus website.

“Due to the added element of completing and submitting documentation of vaccination or exemption, you should take action right away to allow yourself time to meet the compliance deadline,” Dillon said. “Timing is particularly critical for those who previously requested an exemption for medical reasons because the medical exemption form requires the signature of a medical provider.”

Getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is still a strongly encouraged option to meet the requirement, Dillon added, but to do so requires action sooner rather than later.

According to the Office of Human Resources, employees who have not taken action will receive reminders as the deadline approaches. Unit leaders and supervisors, if designated, will assist in the outreach and compliance effort. They have been notified of the confidential and sensitive nature of COVID-19 vaccination reporting information and directed to maintain the information as confidential for use in permissible purposes only, including compliance.

Employees who do not complete the updated vaccination requirement form by Dec. 6 will be contacted to take immediate action to comply. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, Schmelz said.