Vaccination requirement related to federal contracts
November 2, 2021
Dear UA Community,
In my October 18 communication to the UA community, I referenced the potential for upcoming COVID-19 vaccination requirements by Federal mandate. Executive Order 14042 relates to Federal contractors and requires those employees paid by federal contracts, those whose work supports them and those who work in the same facility to be vaccinated.
It has become increasingly clear that to remain eligible for federal contracts, we must implement a vaccination requirement for the following subsets of UA employees, including student employees:
- Employees based on UAF’s Troth Yeddha’ (Fairbanks) campus, regardless of university affiliation and remote work status;
- Employees based in UAF research units outside Fairbanks (including Seward Marine Center, Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, HAARP, Poker Flat, Lena Point, and Toolik Field Station); and
- Employees, regardless of their work location, paid by or directly working on impacted UAF federal contracts.
Failure to comply jeopardizes approximately $200 million in current UAF multi-year contracts and close to $100 million more expected in the coming months. These contracts support jobs for more than 750 employees and their families. In addition, if UAF’s federal contracts were lost, there would be ripple effects throughout the state’s economy as many local contractors are hired to support the research enterprise at UAF.
I will note that there are court challenges to the executive order. The Arizona and Florida attorneys general have both challenged the order in federal court and requested temporary restraining orders to halt implementation. Late last week, Alaska joined several other states in challenging the order. I support the State of Alaska’s efforts to challenge the scope of the EO. However, because we must assure stability for employees and continuity for UAF’s research mission, we are implementing the vaccine requirement per the executive order. The university will be bound to those conditions until the contracts are concluded or future modifications or executive orders are enacted. A court injunction on vaccine requirements resulting from any of the pending legal actions will not impact this vaccination requirement.
Chancellor White supports a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, as do UAF’s faculty, staff and student governance groups. Because UAA and UAS do not currently have federal contracts that are at risk by the executive order, we are not expanding the requirements to those universities at this time. As we learn more about the executive order and its implications, additional units may be affected.
December 8 is the vaccination deadline for compliance with the federal executive order. Information will follow soon from Human Resources regarding the process for verifying your vaccination, requesting a medical or religious exemption, and the consequences for non-compliance.
If you are not yet vaccinated, please visit the state’s vaccination website at http://covidvax.alaska.gov/ to find out where you can get vaccinated. The vaccines are free, and you can use paid COVID administrative leave (code 467) to get your vaccine.
Thank you to those of you who are already vaccinated and for your continued attention to your COVID mitigation measures to make our campuses as safe as possible for our students and employees.
UA Interim President