COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Approved by: Board of Trustees 
Date approved by Board: July 6, 2021 
Effective date: July 15, 2021 
Responsible Official: Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary of the Corporation, and Chief Risk Management Officer 
Responsible University Offices: Provost’s Office; Human Resources Department; Division of Student Affairs; Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 
Revision History: September 19, 2022 
Related legislation and University policies: None 
Review Period: 6 Months 
Date of Last Review: November 17, 2022
Relates to: University Faculty, Staff, Postdoctoral Employees, Students, Designated Third-Parties


Vaccination against viruses and other diseases improves the health and wellness of all faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students, and other members of the CWRU community; reduces absences of faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students; decreases healthcare expenses; reduces doctor visits and improves morale. The University is committed to providing faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students, and other members of the CWRU community with an environment as free as possible from recognized and preventable/mitigable hazards, including COVID-19 and other viruses and infections. 

This policy requires vaccination against COVID-19 among University faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students with an on-campus presence. The goal is to protect – to the greatest extent possible – our CWRU campus community, including University faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students, and visitors to CWRU’s campus, their families, and the surrounding greater Cleveland community from COVID-19 infection as we all do our part to survive this worldwide pandemic.

This policy is intended to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and is based upon guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and public health and licensing authorities as applicable. However, this policy does not assume any legal duty not mandated by law.


This policy requires mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students on CWRU’s Cleveland campus, and it also may apply to certain designated contractors, vendors, and other visitors to CWRU’s campus with regular access and presence in the University’s facilities (such individuals will be notified of their designation and resulting policy application).


Upon employment or registering for an academic course, all faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students with an on–campus presence must: (a) establish that they received the primary series and a booster dose when eligible by uploading the vaccination card to the CWRU secured health record system; or (b) obtain an approved exemption from the University as a medical or religious accommodation. Faculty, staff, postdoctoral and students do not need to disclose, nor should they disclose, genetic information or other medical information when verifying vaccination status. In addition, if a faculty, staff, postdoctoral employee or student has not had reasonable access to an approved vaccination prior to arriving at campus, such individual may be entitled to physically come to campus if they are in the process of obtaining an approved vaccination once reasonably available, subject to additional safety measures. The University will endeavor to assist faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students by providing on-site access to immunizations or identifying sites where individuals may receive the vaccinations. faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students who have a vaccination scheduled through University Health & Counseling Services will be permitted to come to campus to receive that dose.

Safety protocols will be required or recommended, as appropriate, for those exempted from the vaccination requirement as part of a medical or religious accommodation (see below). These additional protocols may result in additional face covering and safety requirements, testing requirements, transfer to a different position or location, or may result in a reduced work level or leave of absence until vaccination is possible.

Medical and Religious Exemption Requirements

To assist any faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students who is disabled, who is pregnant, who is a nursing mother, who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates the vaccination, or who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, the University will engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided without imposing an undue hardship on the University or creating a direct threat to the health or safety of the employee or others in the workplace. 

To request an accommodation for one of the above reasons, an individual must complete the appropriate medical or religious accommodation requests forms (available from Disability Resources or the Office of Equity). Once the University receives the accommodation request form, it will engage in an interactive process to identify potential accommodations on a case-by-case basis. Individuals must cooperate and participate in this interactive process honestly and in good faith, and individuals may be asked to provide additional information in support of the accommodation request. Even with an individual’s cooperation and participation in the process, the request may be denied due the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting undue hardship and/or direct threat posed by the lack of vaccination, depending on the circumstances. In particular, it may not be possible to grant exemptions for students in health education programs requiring clinical experiences to graduate.


As stated in its other policies, the University does not discriminate against its faculty, staff, postdoctoral employees and students, or applicants with regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression), national origin, age, disability and genetic information (including family medical history), or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. The University also accommodates disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs to the extent required by law and prohibits retaliation for any conduct protected by applicable law. Although an accommodation request may be denied if it poses an undue burden on the University and/or presents a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the University will not retaliate against any employee or student merely for requesting an accommodation.

If you believe that you have been treated in a manner not in accordance with this policy, please notify the Office of Human Resources or the Office of Equity immediately.


The University will keep all individuals’ underlying medical condition(s) confidential in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and any other applicable law or regulation. The University will keep confidential individuals' religious beliefs that prevent compliance with this policy.