COVID-19 Booster Due Date Approaching

Greetings Faculty and Staff,

We are following up on the December 21, 2021 email informing our community of the requirement to obtain a COVID-19 booster. In order to protect our community, HMC is requiring all fully vaccinated faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 booster shot and submit proof of vaccination using the COVID-19 Required Vaccination Confirmation (Booster) form by Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Those who are not yet eligible will have seven days to do so from the day they become eligible to get their booster.

The rationale for requiring boosters is as follows:

  • The HMC community includes many people who are either themselves vulnerable or who live with people who are vulnerable, people who are immunocompromised, older or too young to receive a vaccine.
  • Immune responses naturally wane over time and COVID-19 booster shots have been shown to increase immune response significantly, both reducing the likelihood of infection and of serious illness.
  • Booster shots protect the individual and the people around them, making it less likely that classes will be disrupted; reducing the strain on our limited isolation space and lowering the burden on local hospitals.

More information about booster shots can be found in this recent Yale Medicine Magazine article or from the CDC’s booster information page.

In the December 21, 2021 email it was mentioned that if you are working on campus after January 11, 2022, and you do not have the booster, you may be required to test twice a week. Given the rise in Omicron variant cases, the College updated the communication on January 2, 2022 to require surveillance testing for those individuals who did not receive the booster shot by January 11, 2022.

Ongoing testing is not an alternative or substitute to receiving the booster shot. The intended purpose of this temporary surveillance testing is to allow individuals who are not yet eligible or those who could not obtain the booster during the holidays to test until they become eligible and can obtain the booster.

Accommodation or Exemption Requests

For individuals who submitted and received an approved medical or religious exemption for the vaccination, there is no need to submit an additional exemption request, as the original one also will apply to the booster requirement. If you do not have an approved religious or medical exemption on file and your circumstances have changed, you will need to request a medical or religious exemption. Requests for an accommodation or an exemption (e.g. medical or religious based on an individual’s sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance) should be submitted in writing using the Accommodation/Exemption Request Form. For medical accommodations, you will be required to upload a current medical certificate that documents that your doctor advises you not to take the booster shot. If you did not previously submit a religious exemption, you will need to describe how your circumstances have changed and provide detail regarding your objection to taking the booster based on your sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance.

HMC will engage in an interactive process to determine whether an accommodation or exemption is appropriate and can be granted without posing an undue hardship on HMC or a direct threat to the health or safety of the person making the request or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodations.

Any person granted an accommodation or exemption under this policy will be required to use additional personal protective equipment, submit to HMC provided COVID-19 testing at least twice a week, and take other actions as directed by HMC to mitigate risk to faculty, staff and students whenever they are on campus.

Policy Enforcement

Any person covered by HMC’s vaccination policy, who fails to comply with the terms may be subject to discipline, including and up to termination.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we navigate these difficult times. We appreciate your assistance in helping to keep the HMC community as safe as possible. If you have any questions please reach out to José Barajas, jbarajas@hmc.edu or HR, hr@hmc.edu.

The President’s Cabinet

Maria Klawe, President
Karen Angemi, Director of the President’s Office and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Thyra Briggs, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid
Andrew Dorantes, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer
Timothy Hussey, Chief Communications Officer and Assistant Secretary to the Board
Hieu Nguyen, Vice President for Advancement
Lisa Sullivan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
Marco Antonio Valenzuela, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Joseph Vaughan, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Computing and Information Services