Faculty and Staff Vaccination Requirement

Holy Cross requires all faculty, staff and volunteers to be vaccinated, even those who have previously had COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Employees and Volunteers

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the College requiring vaccination for COVID-19? 

Vaccination is highly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The vaccines have proven safe and effective, according to public health experts and agencies around the world, including the CDC. This is a vital step for our community in order to have the kind of on-campus experience we all hope and strive for. 

How do I submit proof of vaccination?

Employees must submit proof of vaccination through the HC Clear website. View directions on how to access HC Clear (PDF). 

On what basis can employers require a vaccine, and how is the Emergency Use Authorization taken into account?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that employers may require COVID-19 vaccination, and proof of receipt of a vaccine, as a condition of employment. Holy Cross is implementing its requirement consistent with this EEOC guidance.  

What is the timeline for employees to meet this requirement?

  • Employees must have received and uploaded evidence of their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 21st to HC Clear.
  • Employees must be fully vaccinated by September 1, 2021. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after an individual receives two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
  • Employees seeking an accommodation must submit an accommodation request as soon as possible. Please see the accommodation procedures listed below.

What vaccines will Holy Cross accept?

The College will accept all vaccines that have received final or Emergency Use Authorization approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as vaccines with an emergency use authorization from the World Health Organization. These vaccines currently include:

  • AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer/BionTech
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

Am I required to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes, Holy Cross requires all faculty and staff to be vaccinated, even those who have previously had COVID-19. 

I am a volunteer; do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes, Holy Cross requires all volunteers to be vaccinated to achieve the greatest degree of protection as possible across campus.

Is paid time off available to get my vaccination shot(s) and if I do not feel well due to potential side effects?

Yes. Pursuant to Massachusetts law, the College is providing employees with up to 40 hours of additional paid sick leave under the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Program for (among other eligible COVID-19-related reasons) work absences to receive a COVID-19 vaccination shot and/or to recover from any side effects after receiving a shot.  EPSL is separate from other types of paid time off that might be available to the employee, so employees will not have to use their available sick leave or vacation if they need to miss work to get a vaccine shot or recover from any side effects. To request EPSL, please contact Human Resources Office Coordinator Melissa Cutroni via email at mcutroni@holycross.edu.

I do not wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, what are my options?

Holy Cross maintains procedures for individuals to request accommodations with respect to the vaccination requirement on the basis of a documented disability or qualifying medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, because they are pregnant or nursing, or on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief that in each case may impact their ability to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If an employee does not qualify for an accommodation, the employee must get fully vaccinated.

What are some examples of a disability or medical condition that would be approved for accommodation?

Examples include a severe or immediate allergic reaction to a first vaccine shot or a known allergy to a component of the vaccine.

If I am pregnant or a nursing mother, do I need to be vaccinated or may I seek a medical accommodation?

The CDC notes that people who are pregnant are more likely to become severely ill with COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. The CDC and FDA advise that you can get a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, and recommend that if you have questions, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider.  See CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding for more information.

If your healthcare provider recommends postponing vaccination, you may request an accommodation as set forth below. 

How do I request an accommodation?

Applicants and employees with disabilities or other qualifying medical condition, or who are pregnant or nursing, may request necessary reasonable accommodation with respect to the vaccination requirement pursuant to the College’s procedures for Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Job Applicants with Disabilities and Employees Who Are Pregnant or Have Pregnancy Related Conditions (PDF) by completing the required forms and submitting required documentation. In addition, employees and applicants may request necessary reasonable accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief pursuant to the College’s Religious Accommodations Procedure (DOCX).  

How long will it take to process my accommodation request?

Accommodation requests will be processed as quickly as practicable but it may take up to 2 weeks (or longer) following submission of required documentation, depending on the specific circumstances of the request. All accommodation requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Where is my medical or religious accommodation request information stored?

This information is stored in a secured area, separate from your personnel file in compliance with applicable law.

What happens if I do not request or qualify for an accommodation, and remain unvaccinated?

If an employee does not request or qualify for an accommodation and does not want to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine, the following will be implemented on August 17, 2021: 

  • The employee will be placed on an unpaid Leave of Absence (LOA) for 90 days and during this time, the employee will not be eligible for benefits except as required by law or policy. 
  • The employee may return to work once fully vaccinated, but must return prior to the end of the LOA.
  • If an employee is not fully vaccinated at the end of their 90-day LOA, it will be considered job abandonment and the College may terminate the employee.

If I am granted an accommodation, will I still be permitted to participate in events, activities, and meetings?

Generally, employees with accommodations may continue to participate in events, activities, and meetings, provided they adhere to applicable health and safety protocols, including but not limited to CDC guidelines for higher education. Protocols may include but are not limited to masking, physical distancing, continued and/or more frequent COVID-19 surveillance testing, and the continued need to quarantine in the event of exposure to COVID-19, among others. However, depending upon the type of accommodation granted and the underlying facts and circumstances, events and situations may be reviewed separately by the College based upon such facts and circumstances and additional precautions may be required. 

In addition, the College is not required to waive essential functions of an employee's position. Further, accommodation requests that result in an undue hardship to the College or are not otherwise legally required may not be approved.

Will my supervisor be told that I am unvaccinated?

Supervisors may be told about your vaccination status in order to enforce applicable health and safety requirements. Supervisors will be trained on how to appropriately discuss and enforce health and safety requirements.

I have questions about my specific situation. Who should I contact to discuss my questions?

Please direct all questions related to the Covid vaccine to covidvaccine@holycross.edu

Supervisor Frequently Asked Questions

What can and can’t I do as it relates to this requirement with my employees?

Please review this training video for information about COVID-19 Health and Safety enforcement.

Can I ask my staff if they are vaccinated?

Supervisors should not ask their staff if they have been vaccinated. Some supervisors will receive information from the College about unvaccinated employees in order to provide appropriate enforcement of health and safety protocols. Any questions about employee vaccination status or health and safety protocols should be directed to covidvaccine@holycross.edu.

Can I ask my staff why they are not vaccinated?

Supervisors may not ask their staff about why they have not obtained a COVID-19 vaccine.

I am interviewing candidates for an open position; can I ask them if they are vaccinated?

No. Position listings going forward will outline our vaccination requirements. Human Resources will address vaccination requirements with candidates following the extension of a conditional offer. Interviewers may not ask about vaccination status.

What happens if I have position vacancies as a result of this policy?

The College will move expeditiously to fill any vacancies that result from this requirement and will provide appropriate resources to supervisors to ensure adequate coverage and continuity of operations.

What happens if an employee asks about accommodations with respect to the College’s vaccine requirement?

Please contact Merrilee Grenier in Human Resources via email at mgrenier@holycross.edu. Human Resources will then take appropriate steps to assist the employee.

What happens if I learn of, or an employee indicates, a possible concern about reporting a health and safety issue or retaliation because of a requested or approved accommodation?

Retaliation is prohibited on these bases. Please immediately contact the Chief Human Resources Officer (mdelaney@holycross.edu) or Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer (bbacon@holycross.edu) or call Human Resources at 508-793-3391 and ask to be connected to the CHRO or Deputy CHRO.