Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,
There is little doubt that the decision for Methodist University to become a vaccinations-required school last year was an integral step in our ability to “stay open.” It’s allowed MU to continue on-campus learning – even through the highest peaks of the COVID-19 epidemic – when many schools across the nation were unable to do the same.
Today – in addition to the number of people already vaccinated – we see weaker strains of the disease, widespread availability for testing and treatment, and fewer cases of COVID on campus and in our region. Because of this – and continuing to follow the expert guidance of our on-campus, state and local health officials – I am announcing that the COVID vaccine is no longer mandatory for MU students, faculty or staff. This is effective immediately.
Lifting this requirement in no way lessons our resolve to be as safe as we can while being as fully open as we can on this campus. We remain vigilant and continue to highly recommend COVID vaccination as the optimal way to avoid getting this disease. As we continue to follow CDC, DHHS, and local health department guidance, it’s very important that everyone understands that the volatility of this disease could require immediate changes in protocol at any time. Please check our Forward Together web site for additional local testing options and the up-to-date protocols if you’ve tested positive or been exposed to someone who has tested positive. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
While “highly recommended” is our current policy for COVID vaccines on campus, there are other state-required vaccines that remain mandatory. Additionally, students should also check with their program advisors as COVID vaccinations may still be necessary for particular internships, field experience, and/or clinical placements.
As the policy stands, there is no necessity for students, faculty or staff to submit vaccine exemption requests, and employee leave policies remain the same. Though not required, knowing the percentage of individuals on campus who are vaccinated is valuable information in determining future protocol and students can share that information via their student portal, while faculty/staff (who haven’t done so already) can share via Paycom.
I want to repeat and fervently stress: getting a COVID-19 vaccine remains highly recommended. In addition, please continue to practice good hygiene, and wear a mask if and when you feel that’s appropriate or if it makes you feel more comfortable. As much as anything, continue to care for and respect each other. We have moved Forward Together in a way that has been well noticed and admired in our community and by other universities. Let’s continue to walk alongside each other, keep up the good work, and Go Monarchs!
Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.