University halts employee vaccine mandate after federal court ruling

The announcement was sent out Friday morning to the campus community. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Zoë Hill | News Editor

The University of Dayton paused its mandate requiring employees to get vaccinated from COVID-19, the university announced Friday. 

In an email to faculty and students, UD informed the campus community that it will continue to encourage vaccination, but there is no longer a requirement for employees to get the shot and report it to the university. 

The pause comes three days after U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove shot down the Biden Administration’s federal contractors’ mandate. Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee filed lawsuits following President Joe Biden’s announcement earlier this fall. Van Tatenhove’s ruling bars employers in those three states from including vaccination clauses in new contracts. 

Challenges to Biden’s vaccine mandates have sprung up in numbers across the nation, with a second blow coming from U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana. His ruling paused the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine requirement for healthcare workers.

UD announced in October that the university would comply with the federal vaccination mandate, which required employees of federal contractors to get the shot. The mandate included student employees in addition to full-time faculty and staff. Per the requirement, employees had to get the final dose of the vaccine by Nov. 24 and report it to UD by Tuesday. 

“We want to thank all of our students, faculty and staff who have complied already,” The Path Forward Team said. “Through your efforts and the federal vaccination mandate, we have achieved a high vaccination rate. This has helped reduce the spread of the virus on campus and allowed for in-person education and research to continue throughout the semester without major disruption.”

The mandate boosted the university’s vaccination rate from 84 percent to 90 percent of all employees as of Wednesday. University officials also said 96 percent of employees have already complied with the mandate in the past few months. Within that percentage are employees who filed exemptions based on medical and religious reasons. 

Booster shots are now available to adults who were vaccinated over six months ago with Pfizer or Moderna and at least two months ago for those who got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. UD is not currently asking students and faculty to report booster doses in their COVID-19 records, according to UD officials. 

UD officials said they are continuing to monitor the federal, state and local conditions of the pandemic, including new variants like Omicron.

“Thank you again to all of those who have been vaccinated and continue to mask up — you are making a difference!” The Path Forward Team ended the announcement. 

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