To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among our community and provide a safe educational and work environment, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) is requiring all students and employees to be fully vaccinated with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, unless they have been approved by ACPHS for a medical or religious accommodation. This policy will comply with all applicable laws and is consistent with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local health authorities.
Must Prove Fully Vaccinated with Authorized COVID-19 Vaccine
All students and employees must provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to coming onto campus for the Fall 2021 semester for any reason, including but not limited to moving into a residence hall, attending classes, employment and/or entering any campus building.
An authorized COVID-19 vaccine is an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization. Here is the status of COVID-19 vaccines within WHO EUL/PQ evaluation process. Vaccines that are not authorized or approved by the FDA cannot be used to satisfy the requirements of this Policy.
Students and employees are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Documentation that proves students and employees are fully vaccinated must be uploaded into the ShareMy.Health App by August 9, 2021. (Here are instructions on how to upload vaccine documentation into ShareMy.Health.) This means that all students and employees must have received their final required dose by July 27, 2021 to be considered fully vaccinated. Students and employees who require a medical or religious accommodation must apply by July 12, 2021 so that a decision regarding the requested exemption can be made in advance of the deadline stated above.
In accordance with New York State Law, employees will receive up to four (4) hours of paid leave per COVID-19 vaccine injection for their own receipt of the vaccine. All COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost.
This policy is subject to change to remain consistent with relevant state and federal guidance. All changes will be promptly communicated to the ACPHS community.
If you are currently in a remote work arrangement that was approved prior to COVID-19 you are exempt under this policy, as long as you do not plan to come to campus during the academic year. In addition, employees can apply for a remote work arrangement with their supervisor and Human Resources. Whether to grant a remote work arrangement is within the exclusive discretion of the College and will depend on a variety of factors, including whether the employee can perform the essential functions of their position remotely.
Medical and Religious Accommodations
To be exempt from this COVID-19 vaccine policy, students and employees must qualify for a medical or religious accommodation that has been approved by the College. The Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Human Resources will coordinate the medical and religious accommodation review process for students and employees, respectively.
To request a medical exemption (i.e., accommodation), students and employees must print and complete this accommodation form, which requests the following information:
- Identification of a qualifying medical condition consistent with CDC guidance, including pregnancy, that a medical provider considers a contraindication to the vaccination.
- Identification of the known duration of the qualifying medical condition.
- Identification of any accommodations that the medical provider recommends for the individual to either perform the essential functions of their position (employees) or to equally participate in the College’s educational programs or activities (students).
- A licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant must sign the form on behalf of the individual requesting the accommodation.
To request a religious accommodation, students and employees must print and complete this accommodation form to provide a brief statement regarding the sincerely held religious belief that precludes them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The College reserves the right to request additional documentation to support the requested medical or religious accommodation.
Accommodations for Those with Approved Medical and Religious Accommodations
ACPHS will review all requests for medical and religious accommodations. In accordance with applicable state and federal law, ACPHS shall provide reasonable accommodations to students and employees with qualifying medical or religious exemptions, provided the requested accommodation is both reasonable and does not create an undue hardship for the College and/or pose a direct threat to the health or safety of other members of the ACPHS community. The College will review each individual’s accommodation on a case-by-case basis.
Additional Health and Safety Precautions for Approved Accommodations
Subject to any restrictions imposed as part of the accommodation process, students and employees who receive an approved medical or religious accommodation may participate fully in campus activities (i.e., classes, events, athletics, residence life), but must print and sign this assumption of risk and waiver of liability and abide by the following additional health and safety precautions:
- Submit a negative COVID-19 test result before arrival to campus for Fall 2021 semester
- Get tested weekly for the duration of their time on campus
- Complete the daily health screener
- Wear masks indoors at all times and outdoors when cannot socially distance
- Quarantine in a manner consistent with New York State and CDC guidelines if test positive or become exposed to COVID-19
- Leave campus in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak as defined by the College
The College reserves the right to modify and/or add to these additional health and safety precautions as deemed necessary and in the sole discretion of the College. The College also reserves the right to remove any individual from campus who does not adhere to these additional precautions.
Additional Considerations for Students and Employees with Approved Accommodations
Students and employees with an approved medical or religious accommodation need to be aware that:
- Certain courses and degree requirements CANNOT be fulfilled via remote learning options. Examples of these include, but are not limited to, experiential rotations, thesis research, and laboratory coursework. The inability to participate in these learning options may result in a graduation delay.
- Certain classes can only be taken in-person. These might include courses meeting an accreditation/licensure requirement, laboratory courses, and research activities. The inability to take these classes in-person might result in a graduation delay.
- Depending on employment responsibilities, the ability to work remotely may not be possible and, thus, the requested accommodation may be denied on that basis.
- Under certain circumstances, employees and/or students may need to pursue a leave of absence.
Denied Exemptions and Refusal to Comply
Students and employees whose requests for medical or religious accommodations are denied, and those who refuse to comply with this COVID-19 vaccine policy, may not be permitted to come to campus.