Vaibhav Sharma, Photography Editor
The University will require all faculty, staff, postdoctoral and postgraduate trainees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1, according to a Friday morning email from University President Peter Salovey and University Provost Scott Strobel.
The decision comes on the heels of the University’s April announcement that all students must be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall term. The decision to require vaccinations for faculty and staff members is more complex since Yale must balance the legal questions around personal choice and employee compliance with its responsibility as an employer to safeguard community health and well-being, Strobel told the News in early May. Additionally, the University must consult with its unions anytime it introduces a new requirement for union members, according to Yale New Haven Health Medical Director of Infection Prevention Richard Martinello. Strobel told the News that administrators have been discussing the topic with union leaders in recent weeks. The May 14 email states that administrators also consulted additional faculty and staff across campus, the email states.
“As we plan for this exciting transition back to campus, our top priority will continue to be the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and individuals with whom we interact outside of our campus,” Salovey and Strobel wrote in the email. “A high percentage of vaccine coverage is critical for a safe return to in-person university operations.”
Staff members will begin phasing into on-campus work starting Aug. 1, according to a March 29 email from Salovey and Strobel, which also stated that Yale plans to have everyone working in person by October. By that time, the University aims to have at least 80 percent of the community vaccinated, Martinello said.
The University likely will not require regular testing for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the May 14 email. Starting June 1, people vaccinated from a non-Yale provider will have to provide the University with proof of vaccination to satisfy the mandate and return to campus.
Yale appointed a working group of public health experts, human resources staff and members of the general counsel’s office to generate a report on the faculty, staff and postdoc vaccine mandate. Afterward, a policy working group made recommendations to Salovey, who made the final determination. COVID-19 policy group members include Strobel, Senior Vice President of Operations Jack Callahan, University COVID-19 Coordinator Stephanie Spangler, interim Vice President for Human Resources Donna Cable, General Counsel Alexander Dreier and others.
“There is abundant evidence that vaccines are the strongest tool we have for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that they are safe,” Salovey and Strobel wrote in the email. “For example, we are already seeing notable reductions in infection rates as levels of vaccination have increased. As a leading global research university, we have a responsibility to demonstrate to others the importance of taking actions based on evidence.”
In the coming weeks, members of the Yale community will receive information about how to request an exemption to the mandate, according to the email. People may apply for an exemption on the grounds of medical reasons or religious or personal beliefs. People who do not receive the vaccine must continue with asymptomatic screening and abide by other health and safety measures.
For people not in New Haven, Yale will help them in securing a vaccine prior to or concurrent with their return to campus.
Correction, May 16: The headline has been updated to more accurately read “postdoctoral trainees” instead of “postdoctoral students.”