Ohio State COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement - Human Resources at Ohio State

COVID-19 HR RESOURCES:

Ohio State COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Ohio State has implemented a vaccination requirement, in which all students, faculty and staff — at Ohio State and the Wexner Medical Center — must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit and receive approval for an exemption request.

More information is available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

Manager Resources for Vaccination Requirement

To better support employees who have not yet submitted their vaccination information, the below information offers guidance for managers to help encourage employees to meet the requirement.

As managers contact employees, please make sure that the goal of the conversation or communication is to help employees comply with completing the report in the Employee Health Record and not to discuss, or even inquire about, their vaccination status. It is important to have these conversations in a private setting or to notify the employee via email.

If you have questions, please contact your Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations contact. More information is available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

If an employee…

  • …is not aware of the deadline or vaccination requirement, but will comply as soon as possible, please educate and assist them by giving them Employee Health Record system information at https://emphealth.osumc.edu/COVID.
  • …thinks they have already reported their information, they should check the Employee Health Record to confirm that their vaccination information or exemption request is on file there.
  • …is having trouble uploading their vaccination status or exemption request and supporting documentation to the Employee Health Record, please instruct the employee to e-mail HR-VaccineExemption@osu.edu to request assistance from Human Resources.
  • …wants more information on why Ohio State is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, direct them to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.
  • …shares that they do not intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine, instruct them to go to the Employee Health Record to submit an exemption request. All students, faculty and staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit and receive approval for an exemption request.
  • …questions why they have to get an exemption request notarized, let them know that all requests for religious and personal exemptions are required to be notarized for all employees and students. As part of the request, the individual must attest to their reason for exemption and explanation of why they are seeking the exemption. All religious and personal exemptions will be reviewed by Student Health Services or Human Resources’ Employee and Labor Relations. The notarization is to affirm the reason based on an individual’s religious beliefs or practices or based on personal reasons.
  • …asks if Ohio State inquiring about their vaccination status violates HIPAA regulations, respond by telling them that HIPAA does generally prevent Ohio State from looking into a patient’s electronic medical record. However, an employer asking an employee to provide proof of vaccination is not a HIPAA violation. The Department of Health and Human Services (the federal HIPAA enforcement agency) states that the HIPAA Rules do not apply to employers or employment records. Therefore, you may decide whether to provide your vaccination status. However, consequences can flow from refusal to provide vaccination status or obtain an exemption.
  • …tells you they do not plan to get either a COVID-19 vaccination or an exemption by the deadline, explain that they have that choice. However, that choice can lead to removal of access to your electronic resources (i.e., logging into their computer, checking Ohio State e-mail) and further progressive discipline, up to and including termination. Ask them to reconsider their decision and choose to either get vaccinated or obtain an exemption. Individuals who ultimately fail to submit their record of vaccination or get an approved exemption will be out of compliance and subject to corrective action. Faculty will be subject to university process under Rule 3335-5-04. Part-time lecturers not in compliance will not be renewed.

Faculty and staff will be notified they are not complaint before any formal corrective measures take place. After being reminded of compliance requirements, as well as being given time to be compliant, disciplinary action includes removal of system access (e.g., logging into their computer, university and medical center applications and email) and further progressive discipline, up to and including termination. HR Employee and Labor Relations will work directly with managers and faculty leaders who need to address formal corrective action with non-compliant employees. Continued non-compliance may result in formal corrective action.

1. I have an employee who is currently on an approved leave of absence and is not scheduled to return before an important deadline. What do I do?
Employees who are on an approved leave of absence and are scheduled to return from that leave after a deadline has passed will need to become compliant with the COVID-19 vaccine requirements prior to their return. As you are working on transitioning your employee back to work from their leave, please contact the employee prior to their return to work and inform them of the COVID-19 requirements and how to report their vaccination status or apply for an exemption. Consult with the unit/college HR Consultant, HR Business Partner, or Employee and Labor Relations if you need further assistance.

2. What are the expectations for new employees?
Ohio State requires every student, faculty and staff member to be compliant with Ohio State’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Ohio State requires that by the start of employment all newly hired employees be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required at time of hire. Candidates may request a medical, religious, or personal exemption from the vaccination requirement. All exemptions are subject to Ohio State’s approval and subject to change, including revocation, due to legal and regulatory requirements.

As soon as the new employee has access to their Ohio State email, they should submit their vaccination record through the Employee Health Record system. To request a religious or personal exemption, prior to their hire date, candidates should email HR-VaccineExemption@osu.edu. To request a medical exemption, prior to their hire date, candidates should email employeehealthcovid@osumc.edu. More information is available at https://safeandhealthy.osu.edu/covid-19-vaccine-requirement

3. My employee has lost access to Ohio State’s IT resources. Can they still work?
No. The employee must comply with Ohio State’s COVID-19 vaccination expectations before they can regain access to IT resources such as e-mail, Workday, etc. During the timeframe in which the employee does not have IT access, the employee should be notified that they lost access due to their noncompliance with the COVID-19 vaccination expectations and they should be given the opportunity to become compliant as soon as possible. Consult with the unit/college HR Consultant, HR Business Partner, or Employee and Labor Relations regarding the employee’s noncompliance.

4. My employee lost access to Ohio State’s IT resources but is currently compliant with Ohio State’s COVID-19 vaccination expectations. Who do I contact to resolve this issue?
First, please verify the employee’s vaccination/exemption status in the Employee Health Record reflects that the employee is in compliance. If the employee is verified through the Employee Health Record to be in compliance, please e-mail COVID Compliance Technical Support at CovidComplianceTechSupport@osumc.edu

5. Who do I contact for assistance with this accountability process?
Please contact your unit/department HR Consultant or HR Business Partner, or Employee and Labor Relations representative.  Your unit’s/department’s ELR representative contact information can be found on the ELR Contacts page.

6. I have an employee who works remotely. Are they required to follow these vaccination expectations?
Yes. The vaccination expectations apply regardless of work location.

7. I manage a student employee and/or graduate associate. Do I have any responsibilities in managing their compliance?
No. Student employees and graduate associates will follow the student accountability measures.  In the event your student employee or graduate associate is not permitted to be on-campus, they will also not be permitted to continue working unless a remote work arrangement is approved by university leadership and Ohio State HR Employee and Labor Relations. Such arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

8. I manage an employee who is currently working outside of the United States and unable to access vaccination (or testing). How should I manage vaccination requirements for this employee?
Employees who are working abroad and not expected to return to campus through next year do not have to comply with the weekly testing requirement should they be approved for an exemption from the vaccine requirement.

9. I manage an employee who is in an intermittent position (i.e., employee who works irregular hours or days on an as-needed basis). Are intermittent employees expected to follow vaccination requirements?
Yes, employees in intermittent positions must also comply with the vaccination requirement or obtain an exemption. Intermittent employees are expected to comply before they are scheduled to work.

10. I manage an employee who is having trouble with uploading their vaccination status or exemption request and supporting documentation to the Employee Health Record. How can I assist this employee?
Please have the employee e-mail HR-VaccineExemption@osu.edu to request assistance from Human Resources.

Faculty FAQs

1. How do I initiate a disciplinary action under Faculty Rule 3335-5-04 to address noncompliance in this area?
To initiate a Faculty Rule 3335-5-04 disciplinary action, someone with knowledge of the action (likely the chair, an associate dean, or an HR representative) will need to draft a formal complaint that lays out the specific allegations of misconduct (noncompliance with the vaccine/exemption requirements as well as any other misconduct that may be associated with it). Chairs should work with the Office of Legal Affairs to ensure all appropriate information is included before filing.

2. How do I file a Faculty Rule 3335-5-04 complaint once it is drafted and what happens afterward?
A complaint on these issues will need to be filed with the Vice President for Academic Policy and Faculty Resources, who is required to review it to determine whether it presents an actionable violation and is not clearly retaliatory or abusive. If the complaint meets these requirements, the Vice Provost will advance the complaint to the remaining steps of the disciplinary process; if not, it will be dismissed.

3. Do I need to take any other interim steps related to this matter while a Faculty Rule 3335-5-04 complaint is pending?
You should discuss specific additional actions with the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Human Resources, and the Office of Legal Affairs to evaluate appropriateness prior to taking any formal additional action.

Manager Resources for Testing Requirement 

As part of the university’s COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement, individuals who have received an approved exemption or did not report their vaccination status are required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing. More information about testing is available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.  

In addition to required testing, students, faculty and staff need to complete an eLearning module on how to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus as an unvaccinated individual. The eLearning will be automatically assigned to BuckeyeLearn transcripts and must be completed within 14 days of being assigned.  

Employees should coordinate with their supervisors to complete weekly testing and the eLearning during working hours. For non-exempt employees, overtime is not permitted unless it is authorized by college or unit leadership. 

Campus managers can view direct reports who need to be tested on Tableau. This knowledge article in HR Connection outlines how to access and read the reports, as well as who is required to complete testing.

Medical center managers can use this report to see who needs to be tested on their teams. Select the testing tab at the top of the page to view your report.

Faculty and staff who do not maintain compliance with the requirements of an exemption (completing the eLearning and weekly testing) may ultimately face corrective action. Faculty continued noncompliance will potentially subject them to disciplinary action under Rule 3335-5-04. Staff continued noncompliance will lead to formal corrective action measures as outlined in the Corrective Action Policy 

1. Who is not required to get tested weekly?

  • Faculty/staff who are fully vaccinated and have submitted and received approval of their vaccination documentation.
  • Faculty/staff on an approved leave of absence (FML, medical leave, vacation) for the entire work week or all of the days that testing is available.
  • Faculty on an off duty period for the entire work week.
  • Faculty/staff working outside of the country.
  • Faculty/staff with an approved medical exemption from testing, which should be requested by submitting a Workplace Accommodation Request through HRConnection or contacting Integrated Absence Management and Vocational Services at hr-integrateddisability@osu.edu.
  • Faculty/staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
    • Faculty and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days at a testing site that is not affiliated with Ohio State should report positive test results to the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team via email (ContactTracing@osu.edu) or phone (614-688-2273).
    • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 at an Ohio State testing location will not be required to test for 90 days. They will resume receiving testing invitations after the 90-day period.
  • Faculty/staff who have an approved religious accommodation/exemption from testing, which should be requested by contacting HR Employee and Labor Relations. To consider your request for a religious workplace accommodation, please complete the Religious Accommodation Request If you proceed with a religious accommodation request, you do not need to turn this into your supervisor. Please submit it to your ELR Senior Representative or email HR-VaccineExemption@osu.edu and Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations will ensure it is evaluated.

2. Should an employee complete their required COIVD-19 testing during work hours? Do employees get paid for the time it takes to complete their COVID-19 testing?
Employees should coordinate with their supervisor to complete testing during working hours. For non-exempt employees, overtime is not permitted unless it is authorized by college or unit leadership.

3. Who can receive a take-home test kit?
You can request an at-home test kit if you are an employee who:

  • Works third-shift
  • Lives and works (i.e., fully virtual, OSU extension or another Ohio State location) outside of the following counties:
    • Allen
    • Delaware
    • Fairfield
    • Franklin
    • Licking
    • Madison
    • Marion
    • Pickaway
    • Richland
    • Union
    • Wayne Counties

Test kits can be requested by completing this form. Requests will be reviewed and you will receive a decision via email within one week. If approved, test kits will be mailed to the address provided on the request form. Ohio State will provide the tests and cover all shipping expenses. Individuals will be responsible for scheduling a virtual appointment and shipping their sample back to Vault with the provided pre-paid shipping label. If you do not meet those requirements, you will need to schedule your testing at one of Ohio State locations.

If you live in or a commute to a work site in Allen, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Marion, Pickaway, Richland, Union or Wayne Counties, you are not eligible for an at home test kit unless you are a third-shift employee. You must test at one of the campus testing sites.

4. If I work 100%, fully remote and never go into the workplace, do I need to get tested weekly?
Yes, faculty and staff who work fully remote but are not vaccinated or have not submitted their vaccination record must complete the weekly testing requirement.

5. As a manager, how do I know if one of my direct reports needs to be tested and if they are meeting the testing requirement?
Campus managers can view direct reports who need to be tested on Tableau. This knowledge article in HR Connection outlines how to access and read the reports, as well as who is required to complete testing.

Medical center managers can use this report to see who needs to be tested on their teams. Select the testing tab at the top of the page to view your report.

6. If an employee is on approved leave or vacation, do they still need to complete the testing requirement?  

No, employees on approved leave or vacation and faculty on an off duty period for the entire work week are not expected to be tested during that time. Employees testing at regional locations who are on approved leave or vacation and faculty on an off duty period during the all of the days that testing is available are not expected to test that week.

7. If an employee is traveling for business, are they still required to complete the testing requirement? 
Employees should complete the testing requirement prior to leaving for business travel and then resume weekly testing the following week or upon returning if travel is longer than a week.

8. What if an employee is home sick or in quarantine on a testing day? 
If an individual is sick or in quarantine, they should submit the appropriate leave, unless they are approved to work remotely. They should reschedule their testing appointment to complete the requirement that week. If the leave is longer than a week, employees on approved leave or vacation are not expected to be tested during that time.

9. If an employee receives a take-home test, when should they complete their test?
Employees and managers should work together to ensure employees can complete their take-home test during their scheduled working hours. If an employee chooses to bring their test to work and take their test, managers should make sure employees have a private space with a computer to complete the test. Managers can consult with their unit HRBP/HRC or Employee and Labor Relations for assistance.

10. What is the timeline for a weekly test? 
Employees are required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing, which is every business week, Sunday through Saturday. It is recommended to space out each test with 2-3 days in between.

11. What if an employee does not use MyChart? 
For assistance with setting up MyChart, please call MyChart Technical Support at 866-966-6975 (available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or email MyChartTechSupport@osumc.edu. If you need additional support with MyChart, you can visit one of the above testing locations and work with the Help Desk team in person to schedule an appointment.

12. If an emergent staffing situation occurs and an employee cannot leave their shift to get tested, can a manager ask an employee to reschedule a different time in the week? 
Managers and employees should work together to enable employees to complete testing requirements during working hours and at a time that balances business and individual needs. Managers can contact their Human Resources Business Partner if they have staffing questions related to testing.

13. As a manager, if I have multiple employees scheduled to test at the same time, how can I plan for coverage? 
If one team has multiple employees who need to test, managers should work as best they can to coordinate staffing to enable employees to complete testing requirements. Managers can contact their Human Resources Business Partner if they have staffing questions related to testing.

14. What happens if an employee tests positive? 

      • Employees should contact their unit’s HR business partner and ensure they are following unit call off procedures.
      • If you are tested outside of Ohio State and test positive, you must notify the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team at 614-688-2273.
      • If you are tested at an Ohio State site, the Ohio State contact tracing team and Columbus Public Health will be notified of the positive result.
      • The university Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team (CICTT) will contact you as they perform case investigation and contact tracing.
      • If you learn of a COVID-19 positive or possible COVID-19 positive employee in your unit, do not share the employee’s health information. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. Please work with EHS and the CICTT to provide the appropriate follow up.

15. What are the expectations for new employees?
Ohio State requires that by the start of employment or no later than January 18, 2022, all newly hired employees be fully vaccinated (which is defined as two weeks after your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine). Proof of vaccination will be required at time of hire. The previous 45-day period for new hires is no longer allowed under the recent federal mandate. Candidates may request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. All exemptions/accommodations are subject to Ohio State’s approval.

As soon as the new employee has access to their Ohio State email, they should submit their vaccination record through the Employee Health Record system. To request a religious exemption, prior to their hire date, candidates should email HR-VaccineExemption@osu.edu. To request a medical exemption, prior to their hire date, candidates should email employeehealthcovid@osumc.edu. More information is available at https://safeandhealthy.osu.edu/covid-19-vaccine-requirement.

16. Are there any employees or positions who are exempt from weekly testing?
Faculty/staff on an approved leave of absence (FML, medical leave, vacation), working outside of the country, and federally protected and religious approved exemptions for testing.

17. If my direct report who is required to be tested misses a weekly test or refuses to get tested, what should I do?
Please have a conversation with the employee to understand why they missed testing. Reach out to your Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations contact, and they will support you in implementing corrective action if there is continued non-compliance or an intentional disregard for the testing protocol. More information will be available soon on this website to guide managers through these conversations.

18. Can an employee use a university vehicle to go to testing?
An employee can use a university vehicle to go to testing If it is approved by their manager/supervisor.

19. How often do intermittent employees need to be tested?
Intermittent employees will be required to test on the weeks they are scheduled to work. Wexner Medical Center IRP staff who are required to test must test weekly, regardless of their schedule.

20. How long should I plan for it to take an individual to get tested?
It’s best to plan for about a half hour for an employee to complete their COVID-19 test. The test itself should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

21. How is testing monitored if employees are completing Vault take-home tests?
Managers have access to a dashboard to view who on their team needs to complete COVID-19 testing and to enable them to support employees in meeting their testing requirements. It is important to note that if an employee has been approved to receive Vault take-home tests, it takes an additional 2-3 days from the time the sample is shipped to Vault for the lab to process and report testing compliance back to Ohio State. The employee’s name may appear on the manager’s dashboard as needing to test if they completed their test, but it has not yet been processed with Vault. Managers should confirm with employees if they are completing take-home tests and shipping them back to Vault each week if they are showing up on the testing report.

Once a manager has received notice that an employee who reports to them has not yet completed their required weekly COVID-19 test or refuses to complete the test, the manager should meet privately with the employee as soon as possible. If you have questions or need assistance with the conversation, reach out to your Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations contact. They can also support you in implementing corrective action if there is continued non-compliance or an intentional disregard for the testing protocol.

The following checklist provides an outline for having a conversation with the employee:

  • Inform the employee that as their manager, you have been notified that they have not completed their required COVID-19 testing.
  • Individuals who have received an approved exemption or did not report their vaccination status are required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing.
    • If they have not submitted their vaccination status, remind them that in order to be in compliance, they must submit their vaccine status or request an approved exemption through the Employee Health Record.
  • Ask the employee if they have scheduled their weekly testing appointment.
    • If it is scheduled, confirm that they are meeting the requirement to be tested each week.
    • If they have not yet scheduled their appointment, direct them to https://safeandhealthy.osu.edu/testing for instructions on how to get tested. Make sure they get tested as soon as possible.
  • If the employee does not schedule and complete their COVID-19 test that week, talk with them about their reason for not meeting the testing requirement. Ask the employee if there were any barriers that existed beyond the employee’s control that led to their non-compliance (e.g., urgent personal situation, inability to get to a testing location during working hours).
    • If the employee states that they intentionally failed to schedule and/or complete their COVID-19 test that week, consult with Employee and Labor Relations for next steps.
  • Confirm employee’s reason for testing non-compliance to determine if it was reasonable given the circumstances.
    • Review timesheets (if applicable)
    • Request copies of relevant documentation (i.e., confirmation e-mail regarding testing procedure)
  • If the employee’s reason for testing non-compliance in this instance is reasonable, provide coaching and remind them of the importance of continued compliance with the weekly testing requirement.
    • COACHING SCRIPT – Thank you for your explanation. In the future, please communicate with me if something happens that may lead to you being non-compliant with the weekly testing requirement. You are expected to comply with the weekly testing requirement moving forward.
    • NOTE: Never ask the employee to disclose their vaccination status or ask them to get the vaccination.
  • Work with the employee to remove any barriers that may prohibit them from completing their testing requirement.
  • Partner with your unit HRBP or HRC as needed. Consult with Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations contact to determine next steps and ensure consistency.
    • If the employee is a faculty member, the Office of Academic Affairs can also provide guidance.
  • If the employee continues to miss testing after you have coached or they share with you they refuse to test, work with HR Employee and Labor Relations in implementing formal corrective action.
  • HR will also be monitoring compliance reports and will notify and partner with managers if there are issues or patterns of non-compliance.