Student COVID-19 Vaccination GuidelinesIn order to safely return to a full in-person experience in fall 2021, Brandeis University will require all students on our campus to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester except those who receive a religious or medical exemption.
This document will identify updates to our policy based upon current CDC guidance, as well as address questions and concerns that have arisen around this requirement, particularly for international students and other students who may not be able to be vaccinated.
Every student on campus at Brandeis University in Fall 2021 must have on file by August 26, 2021 one of the following:
- Documentation of completed COVID-19 vaccination series (both doses of a 2-dose series or the single dose of a single dose series of an FDA- or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine), or
- Appointment for first or second dose of an FDA authorized or approved vaccine at an on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinic, or
- Approved medical or religious exemption.
Students who do not meet this criteria will be referred to the Dean of Students Office, disenrolled from their courses, and removed from campus housing, as applicable.
FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccines
At this time, Brandeis University has updated its initial policy of recognizing only FDA-authorized vaccines to now include FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccines, following the updated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on May 28, 2021. For the purposes of this guidance, individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine of an FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine; there is currently no post-vaccination time limit on fully vaccinated status. For the safe operations of our campus, we will be requiring our students to ensure that they meet this level of protection against the virus.
Students who are not fully vaccinated upon arrival
We understand that it is not possible for some students to receive a full course of an FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine prior to their arrival in the U.S. Students who arrive having received another vaccine in the fall, who may have started but not completed a vaccination course, or who have not yet received a vaccine will be able to receive an authorized vaccine through on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics prior to and during the Fall term.
All students must have received at least the first dose of a 2-dose series or the single-dose of a single-dose series of an FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine prior to the start of classes on August 26, 2021 to meet Brandeis University’s student vaccination requirement (unless they have received approval for a medical or religious exemption).
Students who have already received a non-FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine or who wish to be vaccinated with a non-FDA- or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine prior to their arrival at Brandeis may consult guidance from the CDC on receiving an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine after receiving a vaccine that is not authorized in the United States. FDA-authorized vaccines will be available to all students wishing to receive one. Providers at the Brandeis Health Center will work with each student to determine the best course of action for their individual case.
FDA-authorized or approved vaccines will be available to all students who wish to receive one.
Documenting vaccination status
If vaccinated, students must upload a photograph of their vaccination card (or other official documentation—in English) to the Campus Passport Portal prior to their arrival on campus. This will be reviewed by authorized staff.
Students who are unable to be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine prior to arrival on campus must make an appointment to receive their vaccine (either first or second dose) within the Campus Passport. Students who fail to begin their vaccination course prior to the start of the term on August 26 will be out of compliance with this policy and will be recommended to the Dean of Students Office for adjudication. Appointments for late August will open on August 1 in the Passport.
Religious or medical exemptions
Brandeis will grant exemptions to the vaccination requirement on a limited basis for any student who:
(a) has a medical condition that prohibits them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, as verified by the Brandeis Health Center staff; or
(b )has a sincerely-held religious belief that prohibits them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Brandeis University will not grant policy exemptions on the basis of a philosophical objection to vaccination, or any exemption to the disclosure of vaccination status.
Beginning July 19, students may submit materials supporting their requests for a medical or religious exemption through the Campus Passport by selecting the “Preferences” button on the Main Menu.
Medical exemption requests, including documentation of the relevant medical condition, should be submitted through the Campus Passport after July 19 for review by the Brandeis Health Center staff for verification.
Religious exemption requests should be submitted through the Campus Passport after July 19 for review by the Dean of Students Office. The religious exemption request must include the following elements:
- Explain in your own words why you are requesting this religious exemption.
- Describe the religious principles that guide your objection to immunization.
- Indicate whether you are opposed to all immunizations and, if not, the religious basis that prohibits the COVID-19 immunization.
Expectations for students who are unvaccinated (with an approved religious or medical exemption) or not yet fully vaccinated
Individuals are considered to be “fully vaccinated” for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine of an FDA or WHO-authorized or approved vaccine.
Students who receive a medical or religious exemption or students who have just completed or are in the midst of their vaccination course (at the beginning of the semester) are considered “unvaccinated” for the purposes of this guidance. Two weeks after a student completes an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccination course, they will be considered “fully vaccinated” and they will no longer be expected to adhere to these restrictions.
Brandeis expects unvaccinated students to adhere to the following restrictions for their own health and safety and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others:
Masking: Unvaccinated individuals must wear an approved mask at all times. Exceptions include:
- When working alone in a private office with the door closed.
- In your own residence hall room, or when attending to personal hygiene (masks must be worn in the hallway between your room and the bathroom).
- When performing specific research techniques that have been detailed in an approved protocol.
- While eating or drinking in approved areas while maintaining physical distance from others.
Testing: Unvaccinated individuals must test at a higher frequency: 2x per week.
Quarantine: Unvaccinated individuals must complete travel quarantine when arriving to campus (submit a sample and remain quarantined until negative test result received). Unvaccinated individuals will also be required to quarantine for 10 days if exposed to an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Travel: Unvaccinated students may not travel outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without prior written authorization from the Dean of Students. Such travel requests must be for emergency circumstances only. Quarantine will be required upon return until a negative test result is obtained from on-campus testing.
Singing, theater, wind instruments: Singing, theatrical activities, and the playing of wind instruments are considered to be higher-risk activities. Because our goal is to engage in these activities without masks for fully vaccinated individuals, unvaccinated students will need to obtain the permission of the instructor to engage in these activities and must remained masked (additionally, their instrument must be masked in the case of playing wind instruments) while engaging in these activities.
Because we anticipate the number of unvaccinated students will be a very low percentage of our population and the following restrictions will be in place, we anticipate risks to the individual and the community to be minimal. Such students may live in the residence halls, attend classes, eat in the dining facilities, and use all campus resources, provided they strictly adhere to the additional restrictions.