UChicago announces update to employee vaccine requirement

All employees must be fully vaccinated unless granted medical or religious exemptions

Editor’s note: This message was sent Sept. 22 from Provost Ka Yee C. Lee and Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright to members of the campus community.

To help ensure the highest possible vaccination rate at the University, today we are announcing that all University employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have applied for and have been granted a medical or religious exemption. There will no longer be an option for employees who do not receive an exemption to participate in weekly testing in lieu of vaccination.

This new requirement strengthens our existing employee vaccination policy, which was announced this summer. Employees who do not comply with the requirement by October 15 may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

We are taking these steps to reinforce precautions against COVID-19 in light of risks such as the Delta variant, and to support plans for a full resumption of in-person activities. We are also monitoring and learning from the experiences with COVID-19 on other university campuses this fall and taking appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus here, while upholding UChicago’s distinctive approach to education, research, and intellectual life.

To meet this requirement, University employees who have not yet uploaded proof of their vaccination status must, by October 15, take one of the following steps:

Unvaccinated employees who access University facilities in the Chicago area for any reason and at any frequency, and who have received an exemption or are in the process of being vaccinated, will still be subject to masking and mandatory weekly testing requirements.

For questions on today’s announcement, please refer to the Vaccination FAQ.

The University has determined based on expert guidance that widespread COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to contribute to greater immunity, reduce the likelihood of sudden clusters of COVID-19 on campus, minimize the risk imposed by new variants, and help protect members of our community who are at the highest risk of developing serious illness from the virus. 

To date, more than 87% of employees and 94% of students have been vaccinated, and we are deeply grateful for the efforts thus far across the University. Thank you for your commitment to uphold the health and safety of our community.