Communication sent to all Faculty, Staff and Students, December 10, 2021
Bottom Line, Up Front
- Wake Forest will require either proof of a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose or an approved exemption for all faculty, staff and students for the Spring 2022 semester.
- Wake Forest will continue to require face coverings indoors at the beginning of the semester.
Dear faculty, staff and students,
Thank you for doing your part to allow us to complete a successful in-person semester and for your continued cooperation as we work together to navigate the evolving challenges of the pandemic. Because of your vigilance in following Wake Forest’s protocols, we were able to keep our campus healthy this semester. We are writing with important updates to help us repeat that success for the Spring 2022 semester.
Wake Forest remains foundationally committed to both safeguarding the health and wellness of our campus community and providing a robust academic and student experience. In close consultation with local health experts, we continue to monitor public health conditions locally and around the world, including the new Omicron variant, and the potential impacts on our congregate living and learning environment.
Accordingly, the following decisions have been made regarding the Spring 2022 semester:
COVID-19 vaccine boosters
Wake Forest’s proactive approach to COVID-19 vaccination requirements proved to be an important element in the successful completion of an in-person semester this fall. Because public health experts have indicated that booster shots are critical to mitigating the on-going risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19, Wake Forest faculty, staff and students will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose or receive an approved exemption.
- All students who have not been approved for a medical or religious exemption must provide proof of receiving the vaccine booster no later than Jan. 7, 2022.
- Students can find details on how to upload vaccine information here.
- Students who are ineligible to receive a booster by January 7 (because of the date when they became fully vaccinated) will be granted a two-week grace period after becoming eligible.
- Individuals are eligible to receive the booster two months after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccination or six months after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination.
- The deadline to provide proof of receiving the vaccine booster is two weeks after becoming eligible.
- Students studying abroad in the spring semester on Wake Forest-sponsored programs must provide proof of receiving the vaccine booster no later than Jan. 3, 2022. Students with booster eligibility dates beyond Jan. 3 or after the start of their abroad program will receive additional details from the study abroad office.
- Students who were not enrolled at Wake Forest during the Fall semester must submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster (if eligible), and an influenza vaccination (or request medical or religious exemptions) prior to arriving on campus. In addition, documentation of state-mandated vaccines is required no later than Feb. 9.
- Students who are participating in any Wake Forest-sponsored activities before asymptomatic testing resumes on Jan. 11 and who either 1) have been approved for a vaccination exemption or 2) who are eligible for a booster but have not received one must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to participate. Tests will need to be scheduled off-campus by the student and taken within 48 hours prior to when the activity is scheduled to begin.
- Faculty and staff who are eligible to receive a booster as of Dec. 31, 2021, must provide proof of receiving a vaccine booster no later than Jan. 31, 2022.
- Faculty and staff who will be abroad for the spring semester must receive a booster no later than Jan. 3.
- Human Resources will distribute additional information, including how to provide documentation via Workday, in next week’s Updates from Human Resources newsletter.
Vaccine boosters are widely available, and you can visit Vaccines.gov to find a location for an appointment. Learn more about the benefits of boosters from the CDC and from Dr. Chris Ohl, an infectious disease expert at the Wake Forest School of Medicine (Video: students | faculty & staff).
COVID-19 vaccine exemptions
Faculty, staff and students who were approved for a medical or religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccination are also exempt from the booster vaccination requirement and do not need to take any further action. NOTE: There are no exemptions for students studying abroad on Wake Forest-sponsored programs.
Students can submit a request for a medical or religious exemption, which is specific to the COVID-19 booster vaccination. Note that a medical exemption request requires your doctor to provide a detailed explanation of why you should be exempt. Please give your doctor’s office sufficient time to complete the form and allow enough time for our medical director to review.
Winston-Salem continues to require face coverings for indoor public spaces. Even if this mayoral requirement is no longer in place in January of 2022, Wake Forest will continue to require face coverings indoors to start the Spring 2022 semester. This proactive approach will help mitigate the impact of pre-arrival travel and provide a buffer against the uncertainty associated with the Omicron variant.
Reminder: Influenza vaccine
Wake Forest also requires the influenza vaccine for faculty, staff and students. To comply with this policy, you must submit documentation of a flu vaccine (or receive approval for a religious or medical exemption) by Dec. 15, 2021. Details for students who are currently abroad have been shared by email with those students.
Faculty and staff should submit their flu shot documentation or request a religious or medical exemption by completing the Employee Influenza Vaccine Form.
Failure to meet the requirements
If students fail to meet the COVID-19 booster and/or influenza vaccination requirement by the respective deadlines, Wake Forest will begin the process of withdrawing them from spring courses and removing them from housing assignments (if applicable). The University cannot guarantee that these students will be able to re-enroll in the same courses or receive the same housing assignment once removed.
Students who are withdrawn for failure to comply with the COVID-19 and/or influenza vaccination requirements will be subject to the University’s refund policy for withdrawal, will not be able to receive financial aid, and will lose any federal work-study assignments. International students should note that withdrawal from courses will negatively impact visa status.
Faculty and staff who fail to meet the COVID-19 booster and/or influenza requirement may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.
University protocols for those with exemptions
If you have received a medical or religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster, you must follow University protocols by wearing face coverings indoors (even if the city and Wake Forest requirements are removed), submitting to regular asymptomatic testing and quarantining if exposed to a COVID-positive person. Students who fail to comply with these requirements will be referred to the dean of students of their respective school and may be subject to conduct action. Faculty and staff who fail to comply with these requirements may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.
If you have questions, please submit them through the Our Way Forward website.
Thank you in advance for taking the steps needed to prepare us for a safe, healthy and seamless return to campus. We wish you and your loved ones a happy and fulfilling holiday season.
Executive Vice President