Occidental will require that all incoming and returning students be vaccinated and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the beginning of the fall semester.
To the Oxy Community:
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Occidental has put the health and safety of the campus community at the forefront of our decision making. Now, as we approach the end of the spring semester and look ahead to a reopening of campus this fall for all students, staff and faculty, we have the opportunity to implement a critical safety measure to facilitate our secure return.
Safe and effective vaccines, which are now widely available, have proven to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission and the risk of serious illness when the virus is contracted. Public health experts agree that utilization of vaccines will be instrumental in helping us leave the pandemic behind.
With this in mind, I want to inform you that, consistent with our current policy requiring students to demonstrate proof of vaccination for other infectious diseases, Occidental will require that all incoming and returning students be vaccinated and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the beginning of the fall semester. We will allow only for medical and religious exemptions. The COVID Operations Group (COG) is currently finalizing the vaccine policy and supporting answers to FAQs, which I expect to be shared with the community in May. However, we want to inform the community of our decision now in order to clarify our expectations and to reflect our fundamental commitment to protecting health and safety. We also hope that announcing our decision now will encourage students who have not yet received the vaccine to do so at their earliest possible opportunity.
While today’s announcement focuses only on students, we are actively considering vaccine requirements for staff and faculty as well, and will solicit feedback on this matter at upcoming community forums.
As we implement this important measure for our students, we are committed to addressing your questions, and will keep the community apprised on our COVID-19 vaccine webpage. Please note that the immunization policy will be inclusive of vaccines received in the U.S. and internationally. Support and guidance will be offered to international students well in advance of their arrival in the U.S. Students with vaccination exemptions may be subject to stringent incremental safety measures.
While the policy will go into effect this fall, we strongly encourage all community members to be vaccinated now. Emmons began collecting vaccination status last week. If you haven’t already done so, please get vaccinated and report your status to Emmons. (You can do so by logging into myhealth.oxy.edu and choosing "Enter My COVID-19 Vaccine Information.")
I also recognize how challenging the past year has been for all of us, and I thank you all for your collective efforts to keep our community safe. With better days now clearly in sight, I ask all of you to take this next step--to support each other and to facilitate the return of the vibrant Oxy community we so cherish.