By Rachel Royster | News Editor
Baylor announced via email on Monday it will require all faculty, staff and student employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18 — the first day of the spring semester — in compliance with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“As it currently stands, Baylor must comply with President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14042 requiring those organizations that receive federal contracts and their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 18, 2022,” the email read.
The email clarified multiple states including Texas are legally challenging the federal vaccination mandate. Subsequent court decisions may affect the policy before the Jan. 18 deadline.
In the executive order, which was originally released on Sept. 9, the Biden administration stated that “it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.”
According to Baylor’s email, exceptions include religious or medical accommodations. Jason Cook, Baylor’s vice president for marketing and communications and chief marketing officer, said the executive order applies to all universities, whether they’re public or private.
“President Biden’s executive order applies to both public and private universities that have contracts with the federal government,” Cook said. “This includes Baylor.”
In the fact sheet released on Nov. 4, the Biden administration announced that “employees falling under the ETS, CMS, or federal contractor rules will need to have their final vaccination dose … by January 4, 2022.”
Although the fact sheet requires faculty, staff and student employees of Baylor to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, Baylor’s spring semester will not start until Jan. 18, providing two weeks of additional time to comply with the new measure.
Cook said Baylor’s email was sent out in order to prepare those affected for what may come.
“The purpose of the campus notification was simply education at this time, given the pending January deadline,” Cook said. “An overwhelming majority of Baylor’s faculty and staff have already been vaccinated. President Biden’s executive order has been challenged legally by several states, including Texas, and it would be premature to discuss any specific compliance measures.”
Cook said the university only sent the email to those who would be affected given their federal contracts with Baylor.
“We do not anticipate such action for the general student body, as the campus notification was sent to student employees only,” Cook said. “It is important to note that President Biden’s executive order relates to individuals — faculty, staff and student employees — involved with or in proximity of federal contracts.”
The Baylor Health Clinic offers each of the three available vaccines to all faculty, staff and students, along with their spouses or dependents. Information is available at www.baylor.edu/vaccine.