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Student Vaccine Protocol

2022-2023 Academic Year

Niagara University, as a Vincentian and Catholic university, is committed to maintaining a healthy environment for all students and employees. All that we have accomplished as a community during the COVID-19 pandemic reflects a commitment to the health of our community, and we collectively took a litany of steps to minimize disruption while striving for the lowest possible levels of COVID-19 infections. We remain committed to a basic principle that maintaining the lowest possible levels of COVID-19 is critical for Niagara University and the surrounding community. As the pandemic is evolving, and in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community (and hopefully to avoid disruptions that would be caused by a COVID-19 surge on our campuses), we are taking measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19, including a continued vaccination requirement for academic year 2022-23 (subject to the exemptions explained below).

 Niagara University requires that all students who are attending classes, labs, or will be on campus for any other reason, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to have received an approved religious or medical exemption. It is strongly recommended, though not required at this time, that all students receive a COVID-19 booster when eligible. Boosters are proven to reduce individual and community risk related to COVID-19 infection. Further, those up-to-date on boosters can avoid the requirement to quarantine if traced as a close-contact to a positive COVID-19 case.    

 All new students entering Niagara University for the fall 2022 semester must demonstrate proof of full vaccination by Aug. 29, 2022. Full vaccination is considered the receipt of two doses of a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or the receipt of a single dose of a single dose series (Johnson & Johnson). Acceptable proof shall include a written certification of vaccination, such as a CDC or Ontario approved vaccination card or medical documentation showing the date and type of vaccine administered.

 Students will use their Niagara University network credentials to log in to the Medicat portal to enter information and upload documents and forms as necessary.

Failure to provide proof of full vaccination by Aug. 29, 2022, or proof of exemption shall result in a student record hold that may lead to deregistration.

Continuing COVID-19 Protocols

While this vaccination requirement is a key part of our overall strategy and commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is intended to supplement, and not replace, the other COVID-19 prevention measures that may be in effect or come into effect as directed by NYSDOH, Niagara County Department of Health, Public Health Agency of Canada or York Region Public Health, for example. The university needs everyone’s full cooperation and compliance with this and other health and safety workplace policies to make them effective and to keep our students on campus without disruption to their educational experience at Niagara.

Online Program Students

Students enrolled in exclusive online graduate programs and who will not be on campus (e.g., no residency requirement, no immersion experience, no fieldwork, no campus-based courses/jobs/services) in the fall 2022 semester do not need to provide proof of vaccination to remain enrolled in the online program.

However, any student enrolled in a graduate online program with clinical requirements, fieldwork, or on-campus immersion components must provide proof of full vaccination at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the on-campus or community activities identified above. As previously communicated, clinical sites all independently require vaccination – and do NOT recognize any exemptions. In other words, if you have an exemption that permits you to be on campus, that does NOT also allow you to participate in a clinical experience where the third-party clinical site requires universal vaccination by clinical participants

Exemption Requests

Exemption requests must be received no later than Aug. 1, 2022, and will be considered as set forth below. Please note, however, that the university reserves the right to take any necessary and appropriate steps, including imposing alternative COVID-19 prevention measures (such as requiring the continued wearing of face coverings or masks and participation in routine COVID-19 testing), to ensure the health or safety of themselves or others on campus

Determinations

The university makes determinations about requested exemptions on a case-by-case basis considering various factors and based on an individualized assessment in each situation. The university strives to make these determinations expeditiously and in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner and will communicate in a timely fashion.

Eligible Exemptions for New Students in Fall 2022

Religious Beliefs

The university provides exemptions to students with sincerely held religious beliefs, observances, or practices that conflict with getting vaccinated. Requests will require completion of a Request for Religious Immunization Exemption Form and submission of appropriate supporting documentation.

Please note that philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to immunizations will not justify an exemption from this policy.

Medical Reasons

Exemptions for medical reasons may be available on a case-by-case basis [e.g., severe or immediate allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose or known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of the vaccine]. Such requests will require the completion of a Request for Medical Immunization Exemption Form and the submission of appropriate supporting documentation.

You can find forms for both exemptions here.