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COVID-19 update: Faculty and staff vaccinations

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Jeremy Haefner

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  • To protect the community and remain equitable, DU will require faculty and staff to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, beginning this fall.
  • Certain medical and non-medical exemptions to the requirement will be available for students, faculty and staff.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to follow other mitigation protocols as determined by a variety of factors.

Dear DU community members,

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made decisions with three key principles in mind: the health and well-being of our community, the educational experience of our students and equity. It is with these same principles in mind that we share with you now our broader approach to COVID-19 vaccination.

DU will require COVID-19 vaccination for faculty and staff members

Earlier this month, we promised to share our plans for requiring COVID-19 vaccination for faculty and staff members (as we have for students). After hosting a well-attended open forum for faculty and staff members and conferring with many groups across campus, including DU’s Vaccine Working Group, as well as our health care partners at National Jewish Health—and taking into account the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts—the University of Denver has made the decision to require all faculty and staff who access any campus facility to receive vaccination against COVID-19.

Scientific data has shown us that vaccination against COVID-19 is safe and effective. Furthermore, we believe, and have received feedback from employees and other DU community members, that it is equitable and responsible from a public health perspective to require full vaccination of faculty and staff, in addition to students. This decision will help us return to an in-person, vibrant working, teaching and learning experience.

To date, our community has embraced vaccination with nearly 80% of faculty and staff voluntarily reporting receiving at least one shot. Faculty and staff members must provide proof of full vaccination by uploading a completed vaccine card to the portal. (Full vaccination is defined as two weeks after a one-dose vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine.) This must be completed ahead of your return to campus for fall term or September 1, whichever comes first. You can read more about providing proof and other COVID-19 vaccine FAQs here.

Certain vaccination exemptions will be permitted.

We understand that not every individual is in a position to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical or non-medical reasons. DU’s Vaccine Working Group studied the topic of vaccination exemptions very closely and has recommended certain limited exemptions. These exemptions may change as circumstances change (such as much higher positivity rates on campus, in the surrounding community or state, or the Food & Drug Administration granting full approval for a COVID-19 vaccine rather than the current emergency-use authorization).

For medical exemptions, you must submit to the Health & Counseling Center (HCC) a letter from a licensed health care or mental health care provider experienced in treating the relevant condition. For non-medical exemptions, you must submit to the HCC a form specifying the reason for the exemption request, such as sincerely held religious or personal beliefs. More information about exemptions can be found here.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to follow additional mitigation protocols.

Individuals with approved exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement and individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated must follow additional COVID-19 mitigation protocols similar to DU’s current protocols, including quarantining before arriving on campus, after travel or following exposure to COVID-19; more frequent testing; and social distancing, among others. These requirements will be continually evaluated based on current conditions on campus, in the surrounding community and in the state, and for consistency with applicable public health guidance. The University will strive to preserve individual privacy regarding vaccination status in developing and implementing these protocols.

We hope our campus—and the world—looks more similar to what we enjoyed before the start of the pandemic. To date, DU has been able to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 almost entirely because we have focused on both individual health and safety and our collective responsibility to one another. Our best hope for a return to a more vibrant campus experience will be made possible by vaccination. We appreciate the DU community’s continued commitment to keeping one another safe.

You may find answers to your questions online; we will update our FAQs regularly. 

If you have additional questions please contact Sarah Watamura, DU’s COVID-19 coordinator, at


Jeremy Haefner