Despite a federal judge declaring President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate unconstitutional, Penn State University will keep its Jan. 4 deadline requiring employees to get vaccinated, and some employees who choose not to get vaccinated will be given education and counseling.
“Many of you know (the mandate) is being challenged in the courts so we don’t know the outcome of that process yet, but we are planning around it prevailing, and so implementing that mandate,” Penn State Provost Nicholas P. Jones said Tuesday in the University Faculty Senate meeting. “We’ve got to prepare because there’s not a lot of runway between now and January the fourth.”
The University is navigating two versions of the mandate. The federal contractor mandate applies to nine campuses and the College of Medicine, Wyatt DuBois, assistant director of University Public Relations told The Epoch Times in an email. Employees covered under the federal contractor mandate must upload proof to the university that they have received their final vaccine dose by Jan. 4 or be granted a disability/medical- or religious-related exemption. For those with an exemption, “accommodations will include a requirement to test weekly in the university testing protocol program,” DuBois said.
Employees at all other Penn State locations are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on vaccination and testing, which applies to employers with 100 or more employees. “Under the OSHA ETS, disability/medical- and/or religious-related accommodations are not required for an employee to be put into the testing protocol. So, employees at these locations must receive their final vaccine dose by Jan. 4 or test weekly for COVID-19,” DuBois said.
In other words, those under the OSHA rules won’t lose their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated, but those under the federal contractor mandate who are not granted an exemption could lose their job.