University of Tennessee to Comply With Biden’s Order, Student Employees Must Be Fully Vaccinated by Jan. 18

Employees at the University of Tennessee (UT) Knoxville are required to be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022, in order to comply with President Joe Biden’s executive order, the university has announced.

“As a federal contractor, we are moving forward today to implement the federal executive order as required. The situation could change at any moment dependent upon pending decisions by the courts, and we will keep you updated,” Chancellor Donde Plowman said. 

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, students should receive the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, by January 4, 2022, reports.

Chancellor Plowman said that the federal vaccine mandate applies to almost all Knoxville buildings at the university and people working there, including UTIA and UTSI facilities and employees.

In his statement, Plowman also highlighted that full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees should adhere to the federal mandate, except those whose primary workplace meets conditions for one of the exceptions.

In addition to vaccination requirements, Biden’s Executive Order 14042 also removes the university’s decision-making authority over masks at buildings covered by the federal mandate.

“Consistent with the requirements of the executive order, the university will follow CDC mask guidance for covered buildings, which is dependent on the level of community spread and vaccination status,” Plowman added.

Other universities have also required their employees to be fully vaccinated in order to adhere to the federal law, including the University of Oklahoma, which has asked all its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8, 2021; otherwise, it could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for university education, research, and services.

The University of Alabama System and Auburn University should also ensure that their employees are vaccinated by December 8 deadline.

On September 9, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring all federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It is essential that Federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public.  The CDC has found that the best way to do so is to be vaccinated,” the executive order reads.

According to figures, there are some 7,312 students at the University of Tennessee or 23 percent of the student population. The order does not oblige students who are not employed at the university to be vaccinated.

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