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COCC informs staff of COVID-19 vaccination requirement, planned March 18 deadline

KTVZ file

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon Community College expects to require that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of Winter Term on March 18, President Dr. Laurie Chesley informed staff by email on Tuesday.

Here's her vaccine update, in full:

"Dear Colleagues,

"I appreciate your patience as you awaited news on our vaccination subcommittee’s updated policy recommendations and my subsequent decision. I also want to extend my gratitude to the members of COCC’s COVID-19 vaccination subcommittee for their thoughtful, thorough approach to their renewed charge.

"In early November, the subcommittee shared with me their updated recommendations, the full text of which is attached. I have spent the last several weeks discussing these recommendations with SLT, fellow Oregon community college leaders, and higher education legal experts. The COVID-19 landscape continues to shift around us, and I understand the import and the impact such decisions carry for the College’s employees and students, which is why I wanted to be diligent in my considerations.

"I am both appreciative and in strong support of the subcommittee’s recommendations. I also agree in principle to the over-arching recommendations made—as always, details of implementation will be challenging and take time to adequately address. For COCC students, there will be no change to our current student vaccination requirements<https://www.cocc.edu/news/covid19-vaccination-information.aspx>. For COCC employees, we will begin work to implement a vaccination requirement for all COCC employees, including full-time, part-time, adjunct, ABS faculty, classified staff, administrators, as well as all irregular wage and work-study employees. More on this below.

"Shortly after the subcommittee submitted their updated recommendations to me, the Biden administration announced details for the federal mandate requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. That mandate has temporarily been delayed in the courts, but there is a very strong possibility that it will be implemented in Oregon, and we know that the state of Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is prepared to determine how the mandate will be enacted in our state. The College’s own legal counsel has advised that we also prepare as if this employee mandate will become a reality—perhaps with very little notice from OSHA and a short, state-required implementation timeline.

"If the College is able to determine its own implementation timeline, COCC’s goal will be to have all employees fully vaccinated by the end of Winter Term on Friday, March 18, 2022. I caution again that federal and state OSHA requirements might compel us to move more quickly, and I’ll communicate with you if that occurs. “Fully vaccinated,” per CDC guidance, is defined as 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or 2 weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

"You may note that the subcommittee’s recommendation did not include irregular wage or work-study employees; however, the federal OSHA employer mandate — if put into effect — does include these groups, and so I am preemptively including them among those College employees required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"So please get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. I also strongly encourage all COCC employees to get their COVID-19 booster shot 6 months after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, and 2 months after their first dose of Johnson and Johnson. Through December, Deschutes County is offering a free daily drive-thru vaccination clinic<https://www.deschutes.org/health/page/covid-19-vaccine> at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. for first, second, and booster doses. That same link shares additional free vaccination clinics across Central Oregon.

As noted previously, details of implementation will be challenging, and in order to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of said implementation, I have asked for legal guidance and recommendations for our College regarding those details. Therefore, I cannot include specific details at this time, other than the planned March 18, 2022 deadline for employees to get vaccinated.

We will meet with our employee association leadership and create HR trainings about this requirement. We also will send out a voluntary survey of employees’ vaccination status to better determine the scope of the work ahead.

Employees will continue to be updated on implementation via Headlines. The SLT and I will also review the College’s COVID-19 vaccination policies as needed, and/or as changes to state and national laws warrant. Any review will include broad stakeholder input.

Thanks to extensive scientific data over the many months of the pandemic, we know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping protect against severe disease and death<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness/work.html> from the virus that causes COVID-19, including known variants<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html> currently circulating. The available vaccines are extremely safe<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html?s_cid=10493:cdc%20covid%20vaccine:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21>, and they remain our most effective tool in reducing the strain on our health care system and ending the pandemic. Vaccines are now approved and available for everyone ages 5 and up. During the Winter term, COCC will offer education sessions on the COVID-19 vaccines to help our employees seek out answers to any remaining questions they might have. We will center education and factual information sharing in our approach to this employee vaccination requirement.

Please don’t hesitate to connect with your supervisor, SLT member, and/or MyHR@cocc.edu if you have questions.

To co-chairs Sharla Andresen and Julie Downing, to Seana Barry, Erika Carman, Andrew Davis, Teresa DeSitter, Jenn Kovitz, and Shannon Waller, and to Emma Chaput for her previous service: on behalf of the College and all we serve, let me restate my thanks for your hard work in revisiting and revising your recommendations. And as always, thank you, Bobcats, for all you continue to do to keep yourselves, one another, and our communities safe.

Kind regards,

Laurie

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Comments

32 Comments

  1. Best start listening to the court ! In Georgia today… “The Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe,” Baker, wrote in his ruling. “However, even in times of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities.” ! Time for Oregon to stop the dictator in Salem and get back to constitutional law.

  2. Since the vaccines don’t prevent you from getting the disease and don’t prevent you from spreading the disease I am having trouble seeing any logic in mandating the vaccines. And since the “mandate” crowd don’t give credit to “covid-recovered/natural immunity” they are obviously not mandating vaccines for a health reason.

      1. So the vaccines are to “greatly reduce the risk of serious illness”, so you agree vaccinated people can get CV-19 and spread the illness, which the CDC says is the case. Just as the unvaccinated can do as well. So using those facts – where is the logic in allowing vaccinated to keep their jobs and possibly spread the illness and unvaccinated lose their jobs for the same reason. The difference is if you get Covid you could possibly end up in the hospital or not – what exactly does that have to do with keeping or losing your job???

    1. Once again- spot on ! In fact- looking at the OHA data- void of the mouthy words from the experts- Oregon continues to experience bouts of “serious illnesses” and record numbers of deaths “related” to this virus. Not sure why anyone would state otherwise… But then again most of them are still promoting a divisive message criticizing non-vaccinated individuals- so much misinformation.

  3. By March 18 2022. That’s BS, virtue signaling. They know this mandate stuff isn’t going to hold up so they push the date way off to appear like they are doing something.

          1. 800k? Do you believe that number? It’s been well known from the start that anyone that has died and tested positive, died from Covid, even if it were from a heart attack etc. Keep trying, Bob.

    1. Unlike the CV19 (where only 2% of deaths can be directly attributed solely to the virus)- we are not sure about the actual percentage of deaths being “caused” solely by these experimental vaccines. The VAERs and Medicare (working with the FDA) reports continue to shed light- and it’s not good.

  4. I have lived my life 100 percent normal since this cold began. I haven’t changed anything and never will. I will remain maskless and not vaccinated. And there isn’t a thing any of you pathetic sheep or the government can do about it

  5. COCC should require all students and staff to be vaccinated, to attend/visit any school facility. It’s only fair to the one’s who have already been vaccinated. We all want this pandemic to be done, but unless we all work together, it will linger for years to come.

  6. This decision would have been somewhat reasonable when the jabs first came out. However, now we can see that:

    1. Ireland, despite being 82.3% jabbed, is experiencing a steady rise in cases.

    2. India, at a 37.1% jab-rate, is seeing a steady decline in cases.

    3. The US experienced more deaths this year than last despite more people being jabbed this year than last year.

    Thus, COCC’s decision is illogical.

    Sources:
    1. https://www.bing.com/search?q=ireland+covid
    2. https://www.bing.com/search?q=india+covid
    3. https://news.yahoo.com/despite-vaccines-u-lost-more-130143018.html

  7. As of today COCC has 101 job openings: 12 staff positions, 26 faculty openings, and 63 part-time positions. A vaccine mandate is going to result in even more vacancies.
    Have there been any outbreaks on campus until now?
    The President should let people work remotely and fill the vacant positions (instead of imposing mandates and creating more reasons for people to quit) if she really cares about health and safety of the campus community.

    1. I have no doubt that Dr. Laurie Chesley cares for the welfare of the campus community. That’s why it is paramount to adhere to the vaccine mandate. Call us sheep if you will. “Sticks and stones”. Personally I will do everything I can in the name of prevention. Before covid19 I never received a flu shot. When people started dropping like fly’s from COVID-19, I didn’t think twice. “I’m vaxed”, I’ve done my part in the fight against this pandemic, won’t you please help, so we can get back to normal.

  8. The “virus” isn’t the problem. The tyranny and to a much worse degree the masses willingness to obey the tyranny are the real virus. This is just the beginning. Those who will stand up will eventually be the only ones still standing.

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