ATHENS, OH (WOWK) – Ohio University is issuing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all students, faculty and staff at all of the institution’s locations.
According to OU President Hugh Sherman, both doses of an approved two-dose vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine must be completed by Nov. 15, 2021. He says the date was chosen based on consultation with public health experts and peer institutions across the state.
Under this policy, the university says they are recognizing the following vaccines:
- Pfizer (two dose)
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (one dose)
- Moderna (two dose)
- Vaccines currently approved under a WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL)
The university says this includes all employees, including those who are working remotely, and all students, with the exception of students who are “enrolled exclusively in fully online programs and coursework who will not access University facilities on any campus in person.”
In a message to the university community today, Aug. 31, Sherman said:
If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that OHIO Bobcats care deeply for one another. From doctors and nurses volunteering time and talent to provide community access to vaccinations in rural areas to making sure our friends, peers and colleagues are staying engaged during times of isolation, our University community has demonstrated time and again that this is a community of care.
Our commitment is to provide our students with the most normal college experience possible, but the reality is that as a nation, we are not as far as we hoped we would be in battling the pandemic. Public health experts are tracking an increase in cases in Ohio and on our campuses due to the extremely contagious Delta variant, and we need to do everything we can to continue to show our care and respect for one another and do our part to help keep the entire community safe and healthy.Ohio University President Hugh Sherman
Sherman continued by saying students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to apply for an exemption of the vaccine requirement due to medical reasons or reasons of conscience, including ethical and moral beliefs or sincerely held religious beliefs.
The university says all students must be vaccinated or have their exemption granted in order to be a part of any in-person activities during the spring semester. This includes face-to-face instruction and residence life at all locations.
The university says there is no cost to get a COVID-19 vaccine and students faculty and staff can get the vaccines by appointments or walk-in clinics.
OU also has clinics available on its Athens campus as well as several of the regional campuses. For more information on how to schedule a vaccine off-campus in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website or call 1-833-427-5634. Officials say additional details about vaccine availability are also available on OU’s Be Safe Bobcats website.
“I am grateful for the coordination by our team at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, and our local health system / public health partners to provide vaccine opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff, and the community-at-large across our campuses,” Sherman said.
Students, faculty and staff will need to register their proof of vaccination through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program. For those who have already uploaded their vaccine cards, no further action is needed, unless a booster should become necessary, the university says. Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to test on the site’s Weekly Testing Pathway until they are fully vaccinated.
“The vaccination is our best protection against COVID-19 and will ultimately help end the pandemic. If and when boosters are recommended, the University will update this policy to reflect those recommendations,” Sherman said. “Thank you for doing your part to protect our campus community.”
According to university officials, COVID Operations will be announcing new incentive programs for those who complete vaccination prior to the deadline.