Faculty and staff who work in clinical settings at East Carolina University will now be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1 unless otherwise given a medical or religious exemption.
A memorandum to ECU faculty and staff sent on Sept. 1 from Chancellor Philip Rogers said the vaccine will be required for all university faculty and employees who may engage in direct patient care as a clinician. He said those who also have direct patient care with students or enter health care agencies that are under a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to collect data for research projects will be required as well.
“With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases and dramatic rises in hospitalization this is a necessary step for the safety of patients, research participants and our employees,” Rogers said in the memorandum.
Rogers said those under this mandate must be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious exception by Dec. 1. He said the mandate aligns with other state and nonstate health care agencies which care for patients, such as University of North Carolina (UNC) Health and Vidant Health.
The North Carolina Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have advised public employers to require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination, Rogers said. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, medical and religious exemptions are allowed.
“The UNC System has the legal authority to issue vaccine mandates for its employees and this authority for health care settings has been delegated to the Chancellors,” Rogers said in the memorandum.
Those who seek medical or religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine must submit forms by Nov. 1. Rogers said employees who seek medical exemption can contact the Office of Prospective Health. Those who seek a religious exemption can contact the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Employees who will be affected by the COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be notified no later than Sept. 10.