University Quad and the School of Nursing Building

Employee COVID-19 Vax Check and Vaccination Policy

Statement of Purpose

Montclair State University has followed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the orders of the Governor of New Jersey and determined that a fully vaccinated campus is the best way to achieving our educational mission and keeping the University community safe. This document establishes policies to implement a campus-wide COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

The University has created the Vax Check reporting mechanism as the means by which University employees must provide proof of vaccination status, request legal exemptions or self-identify as unvaccinated. This will allow the University to provide a safe campus environment, to institute a regular testing program, and reduce transmission to others.

Requirements

Reporting Initial Vaccination Status in Vax Check: In order for the University to have data regarding the vaccination status of all employees, all employees are required to complete Vax Check by September 10, 2021 by 5 p.m. Vax Check permits employees to confirm their vaccination status, provide proof of their vaccination status by uploading vaccination documents, or request a medical or religious exemption under the Policy by uploading a waiver form. Please note: employees who have provided proof of complete vaccination or uploaded an exemption waiver form prior to September 7 do not have to take any action in Vax Check.

Employees who fail to document their vaccination status by September 10, 2021 by 5 p.m. using Vax Check will be placed on unpaid leave until they fulfill this requirement.

Updating Vaccination Status in Vax Check: Vax Check permits employees to update their status, for example revising their vaccination status, adding the receipt of a vaccination dose, or uploading an exemption waiver form at any time.

Vaccination Requirements: Please see the table below for the vaccination implementation dates provided by employee classification and/or collective bargaining unit.

Note – as of October 4, negotiations were completed with the CWA, IFPTE and PBA unions to implement a vaccination requirement and are included in the table below.

Complete COVID-19 vaccination is required for all new full time, part time, and temporary employee hires as a condition of employment.

Current employees in positions that are unaligned with a collective bargaining unit (for example, managers and temporary employees) are subject to the Policy effective October 1, 2021.

Current employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (CNA) are subject to the Policy the earlier of: the University’s enforcement of applicable law, Executive Order, or existing provisions within their CNA, amendment of their respective CNA by the State of New Jersey and their unit, or a negotiated local memorandum of agreement by the University and their unit.

Complete vaccination means having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J/Janssen) vaccine. Employees must submit documentation using Vax Check to fulfill this requirement and documentation is subject to review, verification, and final approval by HR Benefits. The only documents that will be accepted as proof of vaccination are:

  • The CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card issued to the vaccine recipient by the vaccination site, or an electronic or physical copy of the same;
  • Official record from the New Jersey Immunization Information System (“NJIIS”) or other State immunization registry;
  • A record from a healthcare provider’s portal/medical record system on official letterhead signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, registered nurse or pharmacist;
  • A military immunization or health record from the United States Armed Forces; or
  • Docket mobile phone application record or any state specific application that produces a digital health record.

If any other documents are submitted, the employee shall be subject to discipline in accordance with this Policy. In addition, if any altered or fraudulent documents are submitted the employee will be immediately terminated with notice to the State for possible criminal prosecution.

Managers and temporary employees must submit proof of complete vaccination or receipt of the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna no later than Friday, October 1, 2021. Employees who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna by October 1, 2021 must provide proof of receiving the second dose no later than November 1, 2021.

AFT Local 1904 members (faculty, instructional/clinical specialists, librarians and professional staff) and AFT Local 6025 members (adjunct faculty) must submit proof of complete vaccination, or have received approval for an exemption for medical or religious reasons, no later than December 15, 2021. Requests for exemptions must be submitted no later than October 1, 2021.

CWA, IFPTE, and PBA SLEU members must submit proof of complete vaccination or receipt of the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna no later than Monday, October 18, 2021. Employees who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna by October 18, 2021 must be tested weekly and provide proof of receiving the second dose no later than November 18, 2021. Requests for medical or religious exemptions to the vaccination requirement must be submitted no later than October 18, 2021.   

Exceptions

There are two exceptions to the requirement for complete vaccination for COVID-19: Medical or Religious. In order to apply for a medical or religious exemption, employees must download and complete the exemption waiver form, available on the Human Resources website, and upload the form using Vax Check, and submit any supporting documentation by emailing it to  HR-Benefits@montclair.edu.

All requests for exemption by managers, temporary employees, AFT Local 1904 and AFT Local 6025 members must be submitted no later than October 1, 2021. All requests for exemption by CWA, IFPTE and PBA SLEU members must be submitted no later than October 18, 2021. 

Medical

Those employees who have a medical condition or disability that prevent them from receiving complete COVID-19 vaccination qualify for a medical exemption pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employees seeking a medical exception must submit to Human Resources a doctor’s description of how or why the employee’s medical condition or disability prevents the employee from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and cite the CDC guidelines pertaining to that medical issue by the deadlines stated above.

Religious

A religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine is required pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Those employees who wish to apply for a religious exemption from the University vaccine mandate must file a request by the deadlines stated above.

Employees seeking a religious exemption must provide, using the University’s form, a description of how administration of the COVID-19 vaccine conflicts with the employee’s bona fide and sincerely held religious tenet or practice that precludes the employee from being vaccinated for COVID-19.

Vaccination Policy Safety Protocols & Policies

All employees must comply with all University safety protocols and policies, as such protocols and policies may be revised from time to time, including:

  • Complete Hawk Check, the University’s health screening software application, on a daily basis.
  • Comply with the University Face Masks and Face Coverings Policy
  • Comply with any social distancing requirements of the University.

Rules for Unvaccinated Employees and Employees Who Have Received One Vaccination Dose

Employees who are not vaccinated because they have been approved for a medical or religious exemption or employees who have received only one vaccination dose of a required two-dose regimen will be required to do the following:

  • Comply with all Vaccination Policy Safety Protocols and Policies
  • Be tested on campus once a week using a PCR test. Testing methods may be revised based on testing availability and University needs.
  • Any employee who has not submitted proof of complete vaccination by the required dates through Vax Check will be considered unvaccinated and must comply with the Rules for Employees who do not submit Proof of Vaccination.

Rules for Employees Who Do Not Submit Proof of Complete Vaccination

Managers and temporary employees who submit proof of receiving the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine using Vax Check by Friday, October 1, 2021 are subject to the Vaccination Policy Safety Protocols and Policies and must provide proof of receiving the second dose no later than November 1, 2021.

CWA, IFPTE and PBA SLEU members who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna by October 18, 2021 must be tested weekly and provide proof of receiving the second dose no later than November 18, 2021.  

Progressive Discipline for Not Meeting the Requirements

Current employees not subject to collective bargaining agreements (e.g. managers and temporary employees) who do not submit proof of complete vaccination using Vax Check as of October 1, 2021 or submitted and received approval for a religious or medical exemption by October 1, 2021 will receive a written notification (which shall serve as a written warning) from Human Resources that the University does not have proof the employee is completely vaccinated.

Human Resources will instruct the employee to submit proof within 2 business days of either complete vaccination or receipt of the first dose. The written warning from Human Resources will advise the employee that failure to provide proof of vaccination within 2 business days will result in the employee being placed on a five-day unpaid leave of absence starting Monday October 4, 2021. Managers and temporary employees who do not provide proof of complete vaccination during the initial five-day unpaid leave of absence will be placed on a successive ten-day unpaid leave of absence.  They may submit proof of vaccination using Vax Check at any time while on an unpaid leave of absence and once Human Resources has confirmed receipt of the proof and verified it, the employee will be returned to pay status the next business day. The University will terminate the employment of temporary employees who do not provide proof of complete vaccination at the conclusion of the five-day unpaid leave of absence and managers that do not provide proof of complete vaccination at the conclusion of the ten-day leave of absence.

The University shall provide notice to the members of AFT Local 1904 (faculty, instructional/clinical specialists, librarians and professional staff) and the members of AFT Local 6025 (adjunct faculty) who have not provided proof of complete vaccination or approval of a medical or religious exemption waiver by December 15, 2021. These employees will have five business days to provide such proof; in the event they do not provide the proof, the employee will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence until the employee has provided verified proof of vaccination via Vax Check.

CWA, IFPTE and PBA SLEU members who have not provided proof of complete vaccination, or receipt of one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or applied for a medical or religious exemption as of Monday, October 18, 2021 will not be allowed to come to work and are permitted to use a combination of vacation and administrative leave during an initial period of non-compliance not to exceed ten (10) working days. IFPTE members may also use compensatory time during this period. Prior to implementing discipline for a CWA, IFPTE or PBA member who is not completely vaccinated by October 18 and during the period of non-compliance the members shall be offered counseling by a healthcare professional assigned by the University, who will attempt to address the employee’s questions and concerns about the COVID vaccine.

CWA, IFPTE and PBA SLEU members who are not vaccinated at the conclusion of the period of non-compliance will be subject to a Loudermill Hearing suspended for three (3) days without pay and advised of the progressive discipline steps outlined below. Employees who do not comply with the vaccination policy by the conclusion of the initial suspension, will be suspended for ten (10) days without pay. Employees who do not comply with the vaccination policy by the conclusion of the ten (10) day suspension, will be suspended for forty-five (45) days without pay. Employees who do not comply with the vaccination policy by the conclusion of the final unpaid suspension will be subject to termination of employment.  

Timeframe for Vaccination Based on Employee Category

Employee Provides Initial Vax Check Submission of Vaccination Status Human Resources Initiates Discipline for Employees Failing to Provide Initial Vax Check Submission Human Resources Initiates Testing for Unvaccinated Employees and Employees with the First of Two Doses Employee Submits Medical or Religious Exemption Waiver Form Employee Submits Proof of Complete Vaccination or Receipt of First of Two Vaccinations Employee Submits Proof of Second of Two Vaccinations Deadline for Employee to Submit Proof of Complete Vaccination Human Resources Initiates Discipline for Employees Failing to Comply with Vaccination Policy
New Hires (including adjuncts) NA NA NA NA NA NA Upon Hire NA
Managers and Temporary Employees 9/10/2021 9/13/2021 9/13/2021 10/1/2021 10/1/2021 11/1/2021 11/1/2021 10/4/2021
AFT 1904: Faculty, Instructional/clinical specialists, Librarians, and AFT Professional Staff 9/10/2021 9/13/2021 9/13/2021 10/1/2021 NA NA 12/15/2021 12/23/2021
AFT Adjuncts 10/1/2021 10/6/2021 10/6/2021 10/1/2021 NA NA 12/15/2021 12/23/2021
CWA Employees 9/10/2021 NA 10/18/21 10/18/21 10/18/21 11/18/21 11/18/21 See CWA MOA
IFPTE Employees 9/10/2021 NA 10/18/21 10/18/21 10/18/21 11/18/21 11/18/21 See IFPTE MOA
PBA Employees 9/10/2021 NA 10/18/21 10/18/21 10/18/21 11/18/21 11/18/21 See PBA SLEU MOA

This policy was originally published on September 7, 2021. It was last updated on October 13, 2021.