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Penn State employees face unpaid leave, termination if they don’t comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Students walk across the Old Main lawn during the first week of the 2021 fall semester
Min Xian
/
WPSU
Penn State announced details this week on how it plans to enforce President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

Penn State announced details this week on how it plans to enforce President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, which requires all faculty, staff, technical service employees, extension staff, students on payroll and graduate assistants at nine Penn State campuses to be fully vaccinated by January 4.

Employees at Penn State Altoona, Behrend, Berks, Brandywine, DuBois, Fayette, Harrisburg, Schuylkill and University Park, as well as Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey and at University Park are covered under this mandate.

Penn State Provost Nick Jones said in the announcement that the university has “developed tiered methods” to encourage compliance with the requirement.

Unless they’re granted a medical or religious accommodation, these university employees will face enforcement processes that vary by position, but include individual meetings with superiors, education on vaccine benefits, unpaid leave, and eventually, termination, if noncompliance continues.

In addition to the federal contractor mandate, all Penn State employees are covered under another vaccination requirement issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which allows weekly testing as an alternative.

Both mandates have been temporarily blocked in the courts.

Penn State said it’s closely following those lawsuits, but at this time it’s continuing its plan to meet the requirements.

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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