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Izzy Pipa

Staff and faculty should have a vaccination requirement

October 14, 2021

Faculty and staff need a vaccination requirement to ensure safety and the continuation of in-person classes.

According to a June 9 email from UVM, there is a vaccination requirement for students. This requirement exemplifies ample insurance that positive cases are kept to a minimum. UVM students have a nearly 100% vaccination rate, stated a Sept. 9 email from Gary Derr. 

Faculty and staff are not included in this policy when they should be. 

“VT Department of Health data suggest that over 90% of our faculty and staff are vaccinated,” stated an Aug. 25 email from the office of the president.

This email also explains that UVM shared an expectation with faculty and staff to be vaccinated.

An expectation is not enough, faculty and staff should have the same requirement students have, especially considering their vaccination rate is less than the student body.

Throughout the pandemic, students were labeled as “super-spreaders,” but faculty and staff can also spread COVID-19. 

Eleanor Miller, president of the faculty union, said there was overwhelming support of a vaccine requirement within the faculty, though this requirement was never seen through by the University. 

“We are not interested in having people fired for not getting vaccinated, the alternative was people who were not vaccinated would be tested once a week,” she said. “We have gone back to the admin several times asking for a mandated vaccination.”

With the overwhelming support of the faculty, it makes no sense why UVM would not mandate a vaccine.

Reported numbers of positive COVID-19 cases within the staff and faculty have stayed under double digits throughout the entire semester, according to UVM forward’s weekly testing report.

Despite a small number of cases, the population of faculty and staff that is not vaccinated is still susceptible to COVID-19.

Unvaccinated populations are more likely to contract, be hospitalized and die from COVID-19, according to a Sept. 17 CDC study.

“Our biggest concern is the younger faculty who have kids who are unvaccinated. They do not want to be conduits of the virus to their children,” stated Miller.

UVM needs to listen to the faculty union and mandate their staff and faculty to be vaccinated to protect their families.

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