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Federal COVID-19 Vaccine, Masking Mandates

Employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an approved exemption by January 18.

Updated: November 22, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • UT is a federal contractor and must implement President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, which outlines federal vaccination and other requirements.
  • The federal vaccine mandate applies to nearly all UT Knoxville buildings and the people who work in them—including UTIA and UTSI facilities and employees—except athletics facilities, residence halls and Greek houses, recreational sports facilities, and a small number of other nonacademic buildings.
  • The federal mandate covers full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees, except those whose primary workplace falls into one of the exceptions noted above. The federal mandate does not require any student who is not employed by the university to be vaccinated.
  • Employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an approved exemption by January 18, 2022.
  • Employees can verify their vaccination status or request an exemption through IRIS.
  • The federal mandate removes the university’s decision-making authority related to masks for buildings covered by the federal mandate. The university will follow CDC mask guidance for covered buildings. At this time, masks are required in covered buildings.

President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14042 on September 9, 2021, which outlines a federal vaccination mandate and other requirements for federal contractors.

As Chancellor Plowman noted in an email to employees, the university is a federal contractor and must implement the federal order as required. The situation could change at any moment dependent upon pending decisions by the courts, and the university will keep the campus community updated.

The university has determined that the federal vaccine mandate applies to nearly all UT Knoxville buildings and the people who work in them–including UTIA and UTSI facilities and employees–except athletics facilities, residence halls and Greek houses, recreational sports facilities, and a small number of other nonacademic buildings. The federal mandate covers full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees, except those whose primary workplace falls into one of the exceptions noted above.

The federal mandate does not require any student who is not employed by the university to be vaccinated.

Verifying vaccination status and requesting exemptions

Employees, including student employees, who are vaccinated should upload their proof of vaccination into IRIS.

Employees, including student employees, who are not vaccinated should begin the vaccination process or request a medial or religious exemption.

The federal deadline to be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious exemption is January 18, 2022. To be fully vaccinated by January 18, you must receive your second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or your single dose of Johnson & Johnson, by January 4, 2022. The university is committed to making the process as easy as possible for employees.

We understand that you may have questions. The UT System has compiled answers to frequently asked questions. You can contact Human Resources at 865-974-9976 or hr@utk.edu to discuss your specific situation.

Masking

In addition to federal vaccine requirements, Executive Order 14042 removes the university’s decision-making authority related to masks for buildings covered by the federal mandate. Consistent with the requirements of the executive order, the university will follow CDC mask guidance for covered buildings, which is dependent on the level of community spread and vaccination status. The mandate also requires the university to post signage outside all covered buildings outlining mask requirements, and the university will update mask signage as necessary.

At this time, masks are required in covered buildings.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
865-974-1000


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