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In Addition To Students, CMU Will Require COVID-19 Vaccine Of Faculty And Staff

Gene J. Puskar

Carnegie Mellon University is mandating its faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, making it the largest university in Pittsburgh to take this step.

CMU employees based in the U.S. will be required to upload proof of vaccination into a university web portal by Sept. 30. Classes begin Aug. 30.

“Which means those who are not yet vaccinated will need to soon make plans to receive the vaccine,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian in his Friday announcement of the new policy.

Jahanian said the decision reflects CMU’s commitment to science-driven and evidence-based approaches to address the ongoing public health crisis. And that it’s motivated by a desire to protect “our campus and neighboring communities and to preserve the privilege of in-person activities.”

A number employers in Pittsburgh and across the country have strengthened vaccine policies in light of the highly infectious delta variant.

On Friday, the Allegheny County Health Department reported that in the last two days there were an additional 620 infections, the highest daily numbers since April. State data show that hospitalizations have more than quadrupled over the past month. The vast majority of these patients are unvaccinated.

CMU’s employee vaccine mandate comes as no surprise. When it announced in May that it would be required of students enrolled in the fall semester, university leadership said it was considering a similar policy for faculty and staff.

The university policy allows for medical and religious exceptions. On the exemption request form, people must explain how their religious beliefs, or how “a strong moral or ethical conviction like a religious belief” opposes immunizations.

Anyone at CMU who is granted an exemption will be required to wear a face covering and get tested weekly.

A number of other universities have implemented policies about vaccines and masking.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.
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