Employee Vaccine Requirement - August 10, 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the final weeks of summer before the start of the fall semester. I am writing today to share that, after careful consideration by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, and with the support of the leadership of the Faculty Senate, Simmons will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees who are or will be working on campus this fall.

Ensuring the health and safety of our community has been our top priority since the start of the pandemic. Our ability to achieve and maintain a vibrant on-campus living and learning experience is dependent on the rates of the COVID-19 infection staying low. The best way to accomplish this, according to public health experts, is through masking and vaccination. We have already begun gathering vaccination status information from our community and are seeing impressive results. This indicates a commitment in our community to health and safety and the requirement further supports that effort.

We are requiring all campus-based employees be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. We will also require employees to record their vaccination status in Workday. Specific details and instructions on how to do this will be sent in a subsequent communication by the end of August.

If you are not yet vaccinated, you should get your first shot by August 20 in order to allow for sufficient time between shots and for the waiting period following the vaccine. Vaccines are widely available at numerous locations across New England. The CDC website lists resources for finding and making a vaccine appointment.

Those with a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude them from getting vaccinated should consult with Human Resources at [email protected] to request an exemption. Employees who secure an approved medical or religious exemption will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated employees without an approved exemption will not be permitted on campus and must contact Human Resources. If you have other concerns about getting vaccinated, please contact Human Resources at [email protected].

With this decision, Simmons joins a strong and growing community of organizations in Massachusetts and across the nation who are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. As you know, Simmons announced in April that it would require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students coming to campus. Following that announcement, requiring faculty and staff vaccinations is an added protection to our entire community. This measure complements the hard work done by so many to ensure a safe fall semester – which includes the installation of new HVAC in the Main College Building; inspections of ventilation systems on the academic campus; new signage; readily available PPE; and stringent cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting protocols.

Thank you for doing your part to ensure a safe campus community for all.  

Lynn Perry Wooten