Masks

 When and where do I need to wear a mask?

Everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, is expected to wear a mask indoors in public spaces on university owned or leased property and while in the presence of others. Employees are not required to wear a face mask while working alone in a private office with the door open or closed.

 Does the mask requirement also apply to JMU state vehicles when more than one employee is riding together?

Yes, if you are in a vehicle with two or more persons, you will need to wear a mask.  

 I’m vaccinated. May I continue to wear a mask?

Beginning August 16, all JMU employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in indoor spaces on owned or leased university property when in close proximity to others.

 How long will I need to wear a mask?

All JMU employees are expected to abide by the mask requirement for as long as either the Governor’s Executive Directive Eighteen or a JMU requirement is in force. It is hoped that the mask requirement will be relaxed as local health conditions improve.

 Must I wear a mask or other face covering while working alone in a private office?

Employees are not required to wear a face covering while working alone in a private office with the door open or closed.

 Will medical or religious exemptions be made available for mask usage?

For religious mask exemptions, employees should contact the JMU HR consultant assigned to their department to inquire about any needed religious exceptions for faculty or staff when a face covering is required in the workplace. Consultant contact information can be found here. For medical mask exemptions, employees should contact their JMU HR benefit specialist.

 Additional mask guidance

Additional mask and accessibility guidance can be found here. 

Vaccine Requirements

 What is the staff and faculty vaccine requirement for Fall 2021?

JMU employees who work on university owned or leased facilities and are not fully remote are expected to receive one of the following COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • A single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by August 23; 
  • The first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by August 23 and the second dose by September 20; or 
  • Another World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine (consistent with the dates above). 

If you are unable to obtain a vaccination until after August 24, OR if two weeks has not elapsed since your final dose of vaccine, you will be out of compliance and must begin weekly testing on September 6. For more information about testing, see the Testing section of the Employee COVID Requirements FAQs. 

Unvaccinated employees may submit a medical exemption, religious exemption or undisclosed personal reason exemption, or they may attest that they work fully remotely. In such cases, employees may request an exemption or attest to their work location using an Employee Waiver and Exemption Form

NOTE:  Fully remote workers who are not vaccinated must be tested weekly if they work remotely and have in-person contact with other employees, the public, visitors, vendors, students or customers.

 What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

You will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the full course of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine.

 I have had SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) and recovered. I have read that I have natural immunity. Do I need to get a vaccination?

Yes, you still need to be vaccinated.  

According to health experts, while some will have natural immunity that is robust and durable due to a significant initial infection, there will also be many who have a limited quality immune response because the initial infection was mild or their immune system responded in a limited fashion. Currently there are no medical tests to determine if a previously infected person has enough immunity to limit their risk of getting sick or seriously ill. Due to this lack of data, the expert organizations (CDC, Infectious Disease Society of America, and VDH) all recommend that a previously infected person should be vaccinated.  

Therefore, you have two choices. You can obtain a vaccination and report that to the University Health Center or you can complete an Employee Waiver and Exemption Form and send that to the University Health Center. If you do the latter, you will need to be tested weekly. 

 Do employees have to submit documentation of vaccination to JMU?

Yes. Vaccination status must be on file at the University Health Center by August 24 for those employees who have not yet reported their vaccination status, including those who are vaccinated, those who are new to campus, and those who are not vaccinated.

Unvaccinated employees may submit a medical exemption, religious exemption or undisclosed personal reason exemption, or they may attest that they work fully remotely. In such cases, employees may request an exemption or attest to their work location using an Employee Waiver and Exemption Form.

The processes for submitting a vaccination record or an Employee Waiver and Exemption Form are the same. You can find out how to send your vaccination status to the University Health Center (UHC) by going here.

 Where can I get vaccinated?

If you need a vaccination, you can find one using the Virginia Department of Health Vaccination Finder.

 Must I take personal leave to get vaccinated?

No, If you get vaccinated during work hours, you must coordinate your absence with your supervisor and obtain their approval to ensure that work continues while you are absent. 

 If I feel sick after receiving a vaccination, must I take personal leave if I stay home?

Anyone vaccinated on or after July 1, 2021 may use up to 8.00 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) as needed if feeling sick after receiving a COVID–19 vaccination.  If more than 8.00 hours of leave are needed, an employee would need to charge the remaining time to sick leave.  If sick leave is unavailable, another personal leave type should be used.  Acceptable forms of personal leave are:  Family/Personal Leave, Personal Day, Recognition Leave, Service Recognition leave, or Annual Leave/Vacation.  Contact JMU Benefits for more information. 

 If I am coming from another country and I am working in a JMU owned or leased facility, which vaccines will meet JMU’s requirements to be fully vaccinated?

You will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the full course of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine.

Vaccine Documentation and Reporting

 Do employees have to submit documentation of vaccination to JMU?

It is important that we have documentation from those who are vaccinated. Knowing the number of employees who have received vaccinations informs campus-wide decision-making and assists our ability to respond to questions from VDH or SCHEV about general vaccination rates. Any information shared will be in aggregate and will include no personal identifying information. Documentation submitted by employees will be stored only by the University Health Center, using their HIPAA-compliant systems.

All documentation submitted must be legible and include your name, birthdate and a copy of both sides of your vaccination card. Faculty and staff can submit their documentation by doing one of the following:

  • Sending an email with attached copies of the vaccination record to healthctr@jmu.edu
  • Placing a copy in the immunization drop box outside of the UHC second floor entrance
  • Uploading images of their vaccination record to MyJMUChart. Follow the steps required to upload completed vaccination information into MyJMUChart online.

 When should employees report their vaccination status to the University Health Center?

JMU requires that you send your vaccination status to the University Health Center (UHC) by August 24. If you get vaccinated after August 24 or arrive at JMU after August 24, submit your information as soon as possible.

Employees who have completed the Employee Waiver and Exemption Form OR have not submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination must be tested beginning Sept. 6.

It is possible that some employees have submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination but have not met the definition of being fully vaccinated. Employees who are NOT fully vaccinated must complete a regular screening test each week until fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, “A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ≥ 2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥ 2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.”

Weekly testing will not be required once the employee is fully vaccinated based on the definition above.

 How do I report my vaccination status?

 How can I get a copy of my vaccination record?

If you need a copy of your Virginia vaccination record, go to the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Request Portal online. You’ll be prompted to enter your first and last names, date of birth, and zip code.

You will then set-up a two-factor authentication method where you can choose to have a code texted to you or receive a phone call. You’ll then have full access to your record.

 Where may I obtain a medical or religious exemption form and waiver for vaccination?

An Employee Waiver and Exemption Form can be found on this web page. 

 How do I report that I have signed a medical or religious exemption?

Follow the instructions on this web page: https://www.jmu.edu/healthcenter/uploading-covid-vaccine.shtml

 I work out of state and never come to campus. Do I have to report my vaccination status?

Yes, you must complete the Employee Waiver and Exemption Form attesting that you work away from campus and will not visit facilities owned or leased by JMU. The form must be sent to the University Health Center (UHC) by following the steps here. If you have been vaccinated and you prefer to report that vaccination status, you may do so by using the same steps.

If you come to campus for any reason, while the requirement to report vaccination status is in force, your attestation will no longer be valid.

 What vaccines, if received, will be accepted at JMU?

JMU employees who work on university-owned or leased facilities and are not fully remote are expected to receive one of the following COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • A single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 
  • The first and second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
  • Another World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine

 Where can I find the percentage of faculty and staff who have reported their vaccination status?

This information may be found on the JMU Stop the Spread Dashboard.

 What are the advantages of getting the vaccine?

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help prevent you from getting seriously ill, even if you do get COVID-19. According to the CDC, currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Evidence suggests that the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program has the potential to substantially reduce the burden of disease in the United States by preventing illness in fully vaccinated people and interrupting chains of transmission. This will help limit the transmission in classrooms, public spaces, and residence halls.

 Last year I successfully teleworked five days each week. May I do so this year to avoid testing and masking?

Your supervisor is responsible for approving all telework requests for you based on a variety of factors. It may be necessary for your supervisor to seek approval from another manager if required by your divisional standard.

Also note that JMU will be providing more in-person services to students on campus this fall than in the previous academic year. It will be necessary for work units to be staffed adequately to provide the appropriate service levels, which may mean teleworking schedules that were acceptable in the spring may no longer be appropriate this fall.

 If I submit an Employee Exemption and Waiver Form to the University Health Center (UHC), how do I rescind it to provide a new form or a vaccination record?

Submit your updated Employee Exemption and Waiver Form or your vaccination record using the same method you used to submit your rescinded document. That process can be found here. 

 On what criteria are employee exemptions approved or rejected?

JMU is reviewing waivers to make sure that all required information has been provided. The review happens as waivers are entered into the database. If a waiver is not approved, the employee will be informed of next steps. NOTE: Waivers should not include ANY cross-outs, additional hand-written or printed text, or attachments, or they will be rejected.

 What is the purpose of an exemption?

To determine which employees are required to undergo weekly testing beginning on September 6. 

 What prevents someone from submitting false documents when submitting their vaccination status?

The submission of a fraudulent document for official university business is not permitted and could result in corrective action up to and including termination.

 What will happen if someone submits a falsified document when they submit their vaccination status?

Submitting false documents is in violation of DHRM Policy 1.60 – Standards of Conduct, JMU Policy 1317-Classified Employees Standards of Conduct and the Faculty Handbook. Violations could result in corrective action up to and including termination. These standards apply to all employee types.

 How are waivers being reviewed and what would warrant a denial?

Waivers are being reviewed to make sure that all required information has been provided. The review is happening as waivers are entered into the JMU MyChart System. If waivers are not approved, employees will be informed of what is needed. If waivers that are marked by the submitter in any area besides where requested, the waiver will be voided and must be resubmitted. 

 Can a supervisor report that an employee is COVID-19 positive or has symptoms?

The information that an employee has symptoms of, or a diagnosis of, COVID-19, is medical information. The fact that this is medical information does not prevent the supervisor from reporting it to appropriate employer officials (such as their vice president) so that they can take actions consistent with guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities including the University Health Center (UHC). 

All JMU officials who are designated as needing to know the identity of an employee per the published protocols must maintain the confidentiality of this information. 

 If I submit a waiver attesting that I work remotely and will not visit facilities owned or leased by JMU, must I get tested weekly?

If you come to campus for any reason while the requirement to report vaccination status is in force, your attestation will no longer be valid. In addition, if you have in-person contact with other employees, the public, visitors, vendors, students or customers you must get tested weekly. 

Screening Tests

 Who needs to complete regular screening testing?

Employees who have completed the Employee Waiver and Exemption Form OR have not submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination must complete regular testing.

It is possible that some employees have submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination but have not met the definition of being fully vaccinated. Employees who are NOT fully vaccinated must complete a regular screening test each week until fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, “A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.”

Weekly testing will not be required once the employee is fully vaccinated based on the definition above.

 How often is regular screening testing?

Regular screening testing for employees will begin the week of Sept. 6 and be required weekly for employees who are not fully vaccinated or have not submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination.

 Where is regular screening testing?

The employee testing clinic will be held in the Grace Street Modular Building, located at 81 West Grace Street. Parking is available adjacent to the building. 

 When is regular screening testing?

The testing clinic will open for employees on Monday, Sept. 6. The testing clinic will be open Monday-Thursday. Clinic hours will be sent to employees with sign-up information the week of Aug. 30.

 How do I set up a screening test appointment?

Employees will need to set up an appointment every week. They will have the choice of a 30-minute time slot during clinic hours. They will receive a weekly email on the Friday before from covid19@jmu.edu with information on how to select a testing time. Information included in weekly sign-up email includes:

  • General information  
  • Information regarding the testing site  
  • How to sign up for their appointment  
  • What to bring with them 
  • Regular screening testing frequently asked questions 
  • Student exemption form  

Employees will receive a reminder the day before their appointment through the electronic sign-up platform which they you will be able to access on any computer connected to the internet.

Employees are expected to sign up each Sunday for their testing timeslot for the coming week.

There will also be an opportunity to sign up for the following week’s appointment at the testing location.

 What if I do not attend a weekly appointment?

Employees who fail to schedule, attend or complete a weekly testing appointment will be notified by email that they have not fulfilled the testing requirement. Their direct supervisor will also be notified.

Employees who fail to comply with testing per the Governor’s Executive Directive may be subject to  disciplinarily action.  

 Are there exemptions?

The following conditions must be met for an employee to be exempted from testing:

  1. Faculty and staff who have submitted documentation confirming receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination AND completed their vaccination regimen 2 weeks before the testing date.
  2. Faculty and staff who work remotely who attest never to visit JMU facilities are exempted.
  3. Faculty and staff who are under order by a public health official/provider to maintain quarantine/isolation. They may need to provide documentation of this order.
  4. The employee completed vaccination and received final vaccine dose at least 2 weeks before the testing date. They must submit documentation of receiving the vaccine to JMUMyChart to be confirmed by the University Health Center.
  5. The employee has proof of a positive molecular (PCR) or antigen COVID-19 test in the last 90 days.
  6. Extenuating circumstances that must be approved by the COVID-19 Coordinator by the Sunday prior to the testing date.

 Will I have to pay for testing?

No, the university will cover all costs associated with this testing. 

 What type of test is it?

Employees will use the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card, which is the type of test used for surveillance testing last school year. The test is performed on a self-collected nasal swab. You can view how to collect the specimen at this link then view module #3. 

The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card is a type of test called an antigen test. Antigen tests are designed to detect proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens such as nasal swabs. It is a reliable, highly portable tool for detecting active coronavirus infections. 

Potential risks include possible discomfort or other complications that can happen during sample collection, which could include a possible nosebleed. 

 Will there be an alternate to a nasal swab or will all tests be administered nasally?

The BinaxNOW testing that is being used also has an option for an oral (throat) swab.  

 What should I expect on the day of my assigned testing?

When you arrive at the testing center located at the Grace Street Modular Building for your appointment, you will need to present your JACard. The Testing Team will guide you through the process.

 What should I do to prepare for my appointment?

Download and sign in to the Navica App, available for free in your APP store. 

Watch the video on how to collect a self-obtained nasal swab specimen (Module 3 at this link).  

 How do I change or delete a testing appointment?

To update or delete your appointment, reference your Sign-Up Confirmation email and click on the "Edit My Sign Up" link. From here, you can Update or Delete your appointment time. You'll need to be logged-out of SignUpGenius to complete this function. 

 How do I receive my results?

You will receive your results within the hour at via the Navica App. Those who do not have a smart phone will need to wait 20 minutes to receive their results by hand via a paper copy.  

 Do I have to quarantine after I take my test?

You do not need to quarantine after this test if you have no symptoms and have not had direct contact with someone who tested positive. If you have symptoms, you should: 

  • Stay at home and away from others 
  • Do not come to campus 
  • Inform your supervisor 
  • Call your Primary Health Care Provider for guidance 
  • Consult with your Human Resources Benefits Specialist to see what leave options are available 
  • For questions related to quarantine or isolation, contact the University Health Center Occupational Health Nurse 

 What happens if I receive a positive result during testing?

Any employee who receives a positive test will be notified via phone call of their status.  

Unless other advice has been provided by your primary care provider, any JMU community member who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay in isolation. The duration of isolation is determined by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  

For tracking purposes only, notify the JMU Occupational Health Nurse at (540) 568-5310. 

Inform your supervisor if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and contact your Human Resources Benefits Specialist to see what leave options are available. 

 If the employee opted to get independently tested out of their own pocket for a saliva test, and agreed to submit the results of that test to the university on a weekly basis, would this be permissible?

It is preferred that employees complete testing provided by JMU at the Grace Street Modular Building at 81 West Grace Street. However, if they seek to test elsewhere, they do need to submit through the weekly exemption form process. These results will be at the expense of the employee.  

Students and Vaccines

 Are students required to be vaccinated?

Yes, with the exceptions noted here. Beginning Fall 2021, JMU will require students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to moving onto campus or attending classes. This includes all undergraduate, graduate and part time students who attend in-person classes, studies, research or activities. 

See more information here.  

 Will students who are fully vaccinated need to wear a mask on campus?

Students are required to wear a face covering in indoor spaces on owned or leased university property when in close proximity to others.

 What are the vaccine requirements for students?

To help ensure the health of our community, students will be required to provide verification that they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for Fall 2021, with the exceptions noted above. This includes students who attend in-person classes or participate in in-person studies, research or other on-campus activities.  

 Why is JMU requiring students to be vaccinated?

Based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College Health Association (ACHA), JMU decided this was the best option for a safe on-campus fall semester. Having students vaccinated, along with continued preventative measures, will help ensure the health of our community and give us the opportunity to return to many of the activities that make JMU a special place to live, work and learn.  

 Are there exceptions for student vaccinations?

There are three types of exceptions: medical conditions, religious beliefs or cases where individuals request an assumption of risk exemption. All individuals who do not complete vaccination for any reason must complete an Assumption of Risk form, which defines the mitigation strategies that will be required of students who have not been fully vaccinated. 

 Do students who are employees of JMU have to get the vaccine?

Yes. JMU student employees must follow the student vaccine requirements and related guidance.

 Can I require that my student workers or students in my class wear a mask?

All students and employees are required to wear a face covering in indoor spaces on owned or leased university property when in close proximity to others.

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