Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination of Federal Covered Contractor Employees
On September 9, President Biden issued Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. As a federal contractor, UTSA is required to comply with specific elements of the Executive Order and related guidance, including COVID-19 vaccination, masking and physical distancing for certain of its employees. The Executive Order and related guidance allow for religious and medical exceptions in connection with the vaccination requirement.
Previously, Governor Abbott had issued Executive Order GA-39 prohibiting Texas governmental vaccine mandates. The Biden Administration maintains that the existence of any such contrary state directives does not excuse federal contractors from meeting the applicable requirements of Executive Order 14042.
As a growing and thriving research institution, UTSA receives millions in funding from federal contracts, providing critical opportunities for us to reach our strategic destination of becoming a great public research institution. Complying with Executive Order 14042 is essential to ensuring we can maintain our federal funding and continue to pursue new and exciting opportunities.
UTSA will take a contract-specific approach to meet its obligations under the Executive Order. This approach will enable UTSA to ensure compliance with the Executive Order while minimizing disruption to campus-wide operations.
UTSA Recovery Operations will directly contact employees who meet the following criteria for mandatory vaccination or voluntary submission of request for consideration of medical/religious exemption:
- Covered contractor employees
- Employees who work in connection with a covered contract. This refers to employees who perform duties necessary to the covered contract but are not directly engaged in performing the specific work called for by that contract.
- Employees who are likely to interact with a covered contractor employee or one who works in connection with a covered contract during the contract period.
For questions regarding federal contracts and the process for identifying individuals covered by the Executive Order, contact email@example.com.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine.
Acceptable Proof of Vaccination Documents
Per the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance, a copy of any of the following documents are acceptable as proof of COVID-19 vaccination:
- COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
- Record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy
- Medical records documenting the vaccination
- Immunization records from a public health or State immunization information system
- Any other official documentation verifying vaccination with information on the vaccine name, date(s) of administration, and the name of the health care professional or clinic site administering the vaccine
Vaccination Record Upload Instructions
If you received an email from UTSA Recovery Operations notifying you that you fall within the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination criteria, use the Vaccination Record Upload Form to submit your proof of vaccination.
- Open the Vaccination Record Upload Form.
- On the login screen, enter your utsa.edu email address and click "Next."
- On the next screen, select "Login using myUTSA ID."
- On the Single Sign-On screen, log in with your UTSA credentials.
- Follow the instructions on the form and complete the upload by clicking "Submit."
For questions about the vaccination record upload process, contact RecoveryOps@utsa.edu.
Exemptions from the vaccine requirement will be considered for the following two circumstances:
- Employee is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical conditions.
- A sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance prevents employee from receiving the vaccine.
Exemption Request Process
- Download the Medical Provider Form and have your medical provider complete the form.
- Submit the completed Medical Provider Form, along with your exemption request via the Employee Request for Medical Exemption: COVID-19 Vaccine form.
- Complete the Employee Request for Religious Exemption: COVID-19 Vaccine form.
To allow time to process your request, submit your accommodation request form(s) as soon as possible after receipt of the email from UTSA Recovery Operations notifying you that your position qualifies for mandatory vaccination.
For questions about medical or religious exemptions, contact HRBP@utsa.edu.
If you meet the mandatory vaccination requirements and are not currently vaccinated, or have not yet begun a two-dose vaccination series (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna), please note that depending on the vaccine you receive, the full vaccination process can take from two to six weeks.
Vaccination Process Timelines
An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. It is not sufficient to have started the vaccination process by the submission deadline. Your second dose or single dose should occur no later than two weeks prior to that date.
The timeline below provides an overview of the vaccination process for each vaccine currently available.
Where to Get Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at a number of local vaccine providers. Vaccination is free for everyone regardless of health insurance coverage status, and most providers now accept walk-in appointments. The CDC has developed a tool to make finding a provider near you fast and easy.
Additionally, UTSA regularly holds on-campus COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Roadrunners who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to take advantage of these convenient opportunities. Please take into consideration the vaccination process timelines above in determining when and where to be vaccinated and which vaccine you select. Visit the On-Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Information page to view the clinic schedule and learn more.Permalink
What happens if I am not fully vaccinated by the date indicated in my email?
UTSA will take appropriate actions to ensure the university is in compliance with the Executive Order.Permalink
My work modality is 100% remote. Do I have to be vaccinated?
Yes. To ensure compliance with the federal executive order, all UTSA employees identified to meet the criteria must be vaccinated, regardless of work modality.Permalink
Is UTSA allowed to issue a vaccine mandate, in light of Governor Abbott's Executive Order preventing government agencies in Texas from doing so?
Yes. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance issued for the Biden Administration Executive Order states that the requirements outlined in the Order "are promulgated pursuant to Federal law and supersede any contrary State or local law or ordinance."
As noted above, failure to comply with the Biden Administration Executive Order would jeopardize critical Federal funding that supports UTSA's mission to thrive as a great public research institution.Permalink
Does the vaccine mandate apply to part-time employees?
Yes. To ensure compliance with the federal executive order, all UTSA employees identified to meet the criteria must be vaccinated, regardless of full- or part-time status.Permalink
Does the vaccine mandate or the documentation requirement violate privacy laws or HIPAA?
No. All documentation will be handled in accordance with the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act.Permalink
Do I need to receive a booster/third dose to be considered fully vaccinated?
No. At this time, CDC guidelines state that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Permalink
Can I opt to get regularly tested instead of getting vaccinated?
No. Unless you have a university-approved medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement, vaccination is required for all UTSA employees identified to meet the criteria.Permalink
I have had, and recovered from, a confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?
Are there any circumstances in which the CDC recommends delaying vaccination for COVID-19?
Yes. The CDC recommends delaying vaccination for COVID-19 for adults in certain circumstances, including the following:
- Individual is currently experiencing symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.
- Individual has received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
- Other specific circumstances as outlined on the CDC's website.
Employees who need to delay vaccination due to any of these circumstances should submit a request for a medical exemption and re-assess their need for an accommodation after the appropriate medical considerations no longer apply.Permalink
If I received my vaccine outside of the U.S., will it be sufficient to meet the vaccination requirement?
In accordance with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance, UTSA will recognize COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines) or COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). More information is available at Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.Permalink
I lost/misplaced my COVID Vaccination Card, where can I obtain another copy?
If you were vaccinated at one of UTSA's on-campus vaccine clinics, contact RecoveryOps@utsa.edu. Provide your full name, date of birth and estimated dates of vaccination.
If you received your COVID-19 vaccine through another provider in Texas, you can get your immunization records, including your COVID-19 vaccine record, from the Texas Department of State Health Services program, ImmTrac.
- Visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
- Select “ Request an Immunization Record.”
- Download and complete the "Authorization to Release ImmTrac2 History" form.
- Send the completed form to the DSHS Immunization Unit address listed on the website.
- Additional information is available on the website, or call toll-free at 1-866-624-0180.
When will I know if my request for a medical or religious exemption is accepted? What happens if my exemption is denied? Can I appeal? How long do I have to get vaccinated if my request is ultimately denied?
People Excellence will review and make a decision on your exemption request in accordance with their established process for considering exemptions and accommodations. People Excellence will contact you if additional information is needed in connection with your request and will notify you when a decision is made. They will also provide information on appealing the denial of an exemption as appropriate. Pursuant to the Federal Task Force guidance, an employee whose exemption request is denied should take steps to promptly become fully vaccinated.Permalink
If I am requesting an exemption, should I continue coming to work while the request is pending? Do I have to wear a mask while the request is pending?
Yes, you should continue to work while your exemption request is processed. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must comply with the Task Force guidance, which currently requires that individuals who are not fully vaccinated must: 1) wear masks while inside UTSA covered workplaces and in crowded outdoor settings on campus, and 2) physically distance to the extent practicable when inside UTSA covered workplaces.Permalink
In addition to the vaccine requirement, is there a requirement about mask-wearing and physical distancing? Where do I need to wear a mask and distance from others?
Employees and visitors must comply with current CDC guidance regarding mask‑wearing and physical distancing while in areas designated as “covered workplaces.” Additional detail regarding the areas on campus designated as covered workplaces and the applicable CDC guidelines in these areas will be shared with the campus community in the coming weeks through campus-wide emails, signage at entrances to University facilities and other means. This guidance may change over time based on community transmission levels. Initially, in the classroom setting, we will be asking that faculty and students distance to the extent practicable, though we understand that this may not be feasible in many classes. Exemptions to the masking requirements may be available for employees who submit a request for a medical accommodation. More information regarding the exemption process for the masking requirement will be communicated soon.Permalink