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Penn State announces six more campuses where employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8

The campus gate at Penn State Altoona
Min Xian
All employees at Penn State’s Altoona, DuBois, Behrend in Erie, Brandywine, Fayette and Harrisburg campuses must get vaccinated by December 8 to comply with a federal requirement, the university said Tuesday.

Penn State is extending its COVID-19 vaccination requirement to employees at six additional commonwealth campuses, on top of University Park, by December 8 to comply with President Joe Biden’s executive order, the university announced Tuesday.

All employees at Penn State’s Altoona, DuBois, Behrend in Erie, Brandywine, Fayette and Harrisburg campuses must get vaccinated. The mandate applies to those working remotely as well as students on university payroll.

“After a review of the University’s federal contracts, we found that these campuses are home to government projects that make them subject to President Biden’s executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccines for federal contractors,” Kelly Austin, interim senior vice president for commonwealth campuses and executive chancellor said in the statement.

The White House executive order requires all federal employees and contractors to get vaccinated. Penn State said there are about 1,000 federal contracts at University Park alone with a “collective value that exceeds $500 million in federal funding.”

"For all practical intents and purposes, it has become evident that we must extend the mandate to all employees at University Park,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in the original announcement. “The great majority of Penn State employees report being vaccinated, which will accelerate compliance.”

As of Tuesday, 81.5% of full-time University Park employees have shared their vaccination proof with Penn State. Among the 2,659 employees who haven’t yet, nearly half are union staff, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard also showed that 76.4% of full-time employees at Altoona, 85.2% at Brandywine, 76.3% at DuBois, 82.6% at Behrend in Erie, 81.9% at Fayette and 83.2% at Harrisburg have confirmed that they are fully vaccinated.

At those six campuses and at University Park, all full-time and part-time faculty, staff, technical service workers as well as students on wage payroll must meet the vaccination requirement, regardless of whether or not they work on federal contracts, even if they are working remotely.

Employees can choose from the three available vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, approved or authorized under emergency use by the FDA. Nov. 24 is the last day individuals can get their final dose to meet the Dec. 8 deadline.

The mandate also applies to those at Penn State at the Navy Yard, which has 100% vaccination compliance as of September.

Penn State said it’s developing information on medical or religious exemptions as well as potential employment sanctions for those who don’t meet the requirement.

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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