COVID-19 Update - September 24, 2021

September 24, 2021 | San Diego Community College District

SDCCD Community:

This message provides updates on two important topics:
- Board of Trustees Resolution Regarding a COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Employees
- CDC Approval of Booster Doses of the Pfizer Vaccine for Public Education Employees

At the September 23, 2021 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously approved a resolution directing the Chancellor to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all employees. The requirement also applies to students and members of the public accessing onsite instruction and services throughout the District. This decision is the culmination of many months of discussion with stakeholders throughout the District, including collective bargaining representatives, Academic and Classified Senate representatives, Associated Student Government representatives, and managers, supervisors, and employees in instruction, student services, and a wide range of operational areas. In every discussion, the primary concern has been the health and safety of everyone working, attending, and receiving services throughout our District. Adding a requirement which limits access to attend and work at our Colleges and District is a difficult, but necessary, decision given the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on our communities and the urgency for resuming in-person instruction and services. Read the Vaccine Requirement Resolution.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Employees

All employees of the San Diego Community College District will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exemption. The timeline for employees who are not yet fully vaccinated to comply will be announced in a subsequent email. All employees who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible. The District follows the definition of “fully vaccinated” provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which is 14 days after the final dose in an authorized vaccine series. All vaccines authorized by the CDC, Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and World Health Organization (WHO) are accepted by the District. In the United States, there are three vaccines currently available with full or emergency approval by the FDA: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a two dose series and it takes five weeks to be fully vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose and it takes two weeks to be fully vaccinated. All three vaccines are available at no cost throughout San Diego County and the United States through county vaccination clinics, medical providers, and retail pharmacies.

If you have already provided documentation of your vaccination status and received a confirmation of your submission, you do not need to do anything further. If you have not previously submitted your vaccination documentation, you must do so by Friday, October 8, 2021.

Submitting Vaccination Documentation

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but have not provided documentation, you must submit a form stating you are fully vaccinated; the date of your most recent vaccination dose; a copy of your vaccination record card, State of California SMART Health Card showing your vaccination record, email confirmation of vaccination, or other documentation showing you have been fully vaccinated; and authorization for the District to use information about your vaccination status for employment-related reasons. You may obtain your California SMART Health Card here.

Instructions on completing the
vaccination confirmation form

PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT THIS FORM UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR FINAL VACCINE DOSE. If you are not fully vaccinated at this time, please submit this form after you receive your final dose (2nd dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Requesting an Exemption from the Vaccine Requirement

As required by Federal and State law, the District will evaluate requests for an exemption from this requirement based on a medical condition or a sincerely-held religious belief. Exemptions will be considered on an individual basis. Employees approved for an exemption will go through an interactive process to determine whether a reasonable accommodation to the vaccination requirement can be made without posing a health and safety risk to others. Reasonable accommodations may include periodic COVID-19 testing, changes in work assignments, changes in work schedules, changes in work location, and other appropriate measures. Accommodations are evaluated on an individual basis within the specific reasons for an exemption, work performed, environment in which work is performed, and related relevant factors.

If you have previously submitted an exemption request based on a medical condition and received approval, you do not need to do anything further at this time. If additional information is needed, a Human Resources representative will contact you directly.

If you have previously submitted an exemption request based on a sincerely-held religious belief, you will need to submit an updated request providing additional information. Beginning Monday, September 27th, the revised religious exemption request form will be available in PeopleSoft within the “Employee Dashboard” and “My Forms” link. The prior exemption request form has been disabled and you will not be able to access it at this time. Specific instructions on completing the exemption request form will be provided in a subsequent email.

If you have not previously submitted an exemption request based on a medical condition or sincerely-held religious belief, you must do so by October 8, 2021.

Employees who do not submit their vaccination documentation and are not approved for an exemption will be subject to discipline.

Booster Doses of the Pfizer Vaccine for Public Education Employees

Earlier today (September 24, 2021), the CDC approved a 3rd dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 65 or older, 18 or older and with underlying conditions putting them at higher risk, and individuals with high occupational risk of infection, including public education employees. The CDC had not changed the definition of “fully vaccinated” to require a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Based on the information available at this time, we believe all San Diego Community College District employees who received the Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago (currently, in March 2021) are eligible for a booster dose. CVS has announced it will begin accepting appointments for Pfizer booster doses immediately. Employees interested in a booster dose should contact vaccine providers directly for information about availability and appointments. At this time, the District will not be providing vaccination onsite at District facilities for employees.

To reiterate, employees are not required to get a booster dose to comply with the District’s vaccination requirement at this time.

Currently, booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being studied and are not authorized by the CDC or FDA. Further information will be provided if additional booster doses are approved and if the CDC updates the definition of “fully vaccinated”. 

The District provides data on COVID-19 infections in California, San Diego County, and among employees and students on our COVID-19 information and resources page.  Data are updated weekly.

COVID-19 testing will continue to be available at the District Office, City College, Mesa College, Miramar College, and Educational Cultural Complex for any employee interested in getting tested. COVID-19 testing will continue to be required weekly for all employees who have not submitted documentation showing they are fully vaccinated. For a complete schedule of testing locations, days, and times and instructions for making an appointment, see the COVID-19 TESTING PROCEDURES.

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