Dear Members of the Santa Clara University Community,
In April, I shared that Santa Clara will mandate that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 as an important step in our plans to return to fully in-person classes and campus life this fall. Now, with virus transmission increasing— especially among unvaccinated populations exposed to the Delta variant—vaccination remains as critical as ever to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
All students will continue to be required to be fully vaccinated by the start of fall term as previously announced. To accommodate that goal, students will be required to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination by the following dates:
- August 1 for Law students,
- August 8 for JST students,
- August 15 for EMBA students, and
- September 1 for undergraduates and all other quarter-based graduate students.
Additionally, Santa Clara University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is being extended to all faculty and staff. Upon the recommendation of public health officials and SCU’s health and safety team, this requirement will be enforced whether or not current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for the three vaccines have changed from “emergency use” to “full” status by that date.
SCU’s vaccine mandate will allow for limited exemptions. Those who obtain an exemption will be subject to additional health and safety protocols on campus, including requirements for regular COVID-19 testing and wearing face coverings indoors. In the next several days, all students, faculty and staff will receive instructions for providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination or obtaining an approved exemption waiver.
This course of action is anchored by our core guiding principles to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and to offer a rigorous, transformational education in the long tradition of Jesuit education.
There has also been broad support among our campus constituencies for a responsible, public-health-minded vaccine mandate that will protect the health of our community and ensure a safe return to on-campus life. Santa Clara County and other local counties recently recommended that employers require COVID-19 vaccination of their workforces. Many of our faculty, staff, and students already have voluntarily submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination through the Vax Verify system.
This mandate also takes into account the views of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and others that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, readily accessible in the U.S., and proven to provide significant protection against the virus as well as the new Delta variant. FDA approval for “full use authorization” of at least one vaccine, rather than “emergency use authorization,” is widely expected within weeks. In the meantime, it is the overwhelming view of local, state, and federal public health agencies that vaccination is the surest way to protect communities from the ongoing threat of COVID-19, especially in large-group congregant settings like residence halls or classrooms.
We know there will be questions about this new requirement, and we will update our Vaccine FAQ regularly to provide answers.
I am grateful for your support in ensuring that we can return to a full in-person experience for our students this fall. In the meantime, I hope that you and your families are getting much-needed rest and rejuvenation for the remainder of the summer.
Lisa A. Kloppenberg