COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Decision

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With the objective of prioritizing the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students, while ensuring the highest standards of academic excellence and a transformative student experience, the University Management Committee (UMC) gathered community feedback on a draft COVID-19 vaccination policy, evaluated Pepperdine vaccination data, consulted with leading medical experts, and benchmarked other universities. Following this work, UMC is issuing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy requiring all faculty, staff, and students who do not claim an exemption described below to be vaccinated in advance of return to campus for the fall semester. 

This policy acknowledges the University’s high degree of confidence in COVID-19 vaccinations, with authorized vaccines proving effective in preventing illness and death, including from known variants. The policy also recognizes there are those in our community who, after carefully and prayerfully considering how best to balance their medical health and religious or philosophical convictions with their desire to care for their neighbors and our community, have determined they are unable to be vaccinated at this time. Therefore, the policy entitles community members to claim a medical, religious, or philosophical exemption in good faith. These exemption categories mirror the University’s long-standing mandatory vaccination practices. Community members who need to claim an exemption (which could include one based on emergency authorization of the vaccine) must complete the vaccination exemption form, the instructions for which can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Information website.

While we do not know precisely which infection control measures will be required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) in the fall, we expect LACDPH may mandate face coverings indoors for those not vaccinated, and for all community members when riding campus shuttles and in the health center. Regardless of health orders or vaccination status, all community members should feel comfortable wearing face coverings at any time. We foresee some fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students will continue to wear face coverings in certain circumstances for a period of time as a personal choice. We also understand LACDPH will continue to require a ten-day solitary quarantine for any unvaccinated person identified as a close contact with a positive case. In contrast, fully vaccinated persons identified as close contacts will not have to quarantine. The University will comply with applicable public health orders. 

As a reminder, all faculty, staff, and students are required to notify the University of their current vaccination status by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Notification Form. The deadline has been extended to July 16, 2021. If your vaccination status changes after you have completed the form, please resubmit the form with your updated response. With roughly half of the community already responding, we are encouraged the results currently indicate more than 86% have either been fully vaccinated (80%) or are in the process of getting fully vaccinated (6%).

Consistent with our standard practices regarding mandatory vaccines, students will be directed to submit verification of vaccination. Instructions will be shared next week, and the documentation must be submitted by July 31, 2021. Documentation, including exemption forms and medical records, will be kept confidential. Vaccination status will be shared with University officials who have a legitimate need to know this information. This could include faculty or staff in academic or administrative settings, or for contact tracing purposes, etc.

If you have questions regarding any COVID-related issue or concern, please contact the COVID-19 Information Line at 310.506.8111 or via email at covid19info@pepperdine.edu. We look forward to seeing you back on campus soon.