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Standard College Response to the Coronavirus

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COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

Vaccination is the most important tool to protect members of our community and to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines offer significant protection to individuals from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, from being hospitalized and from dying. Research also suggests that fully vaccinated individuals are much less likely to become infected or spread the virus to others. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Clinical participation is one of the requirements students must meet in order to complete a nursing education, as mandated by the Virginia Board of Nursing. The majority of the clinical facilities that receive Standard College students require the COVID-19 vaccine and do not offer exemptions to students. Since the majority of clinical facilities share the same policy in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine, the school has adopted the policy of the majority and requires students to be fully vaccinated.

Accordingly, in order to participate onsite at the clinical facilities, all Standard College students must establish that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of August 11, 2021, a student is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-does vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or one does of a single dose vaccine (Janssen). Any vaccine authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted. At this time, the vaccine is not required in order to return to campus for the skills lab or to take course exams. Getting vaccinated remains the best way to ensure that we have a full and rich experience as a student at Standard College. Every faculty member, staff member and student plays a vital role in the health and safety of our community.

Participation at Clinical Facilities

Students must (1) provide proof of being fully vaccinated and (2) sign the COVID-19 Acknowledgement of Risk Form prior to participation at the clinical facility. Students who do not engage in the clinical practicum may not progress in the program because they will not be fulfilling program requirements. This means, that in order to progress in the program, a student must receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In the event a student decides not to get the vaccine, the student will not be allowed access to the clinical facilities, and accordingly, the student will no longer have the opportunity to continue in the program. An unvaccinated student will be obliged to take a leave of absence or withdraw from Standard College after completing the current course he/she is enrolled in.

Religious Exemption

By law, students may apply for a religious exemption to the school’s vaccination policy. A religious exemption represents a sincerely held religious belief that prevents a person from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. A religious exemption is not granted on the basis of a moral, philosophical, or conscientious objection. As the law requires, the school must make reasonable accommodations for a student’s religious beliefs, as long as the accommodation does not impose an “undue hardship” on the school, as that term is defined by applicable law.  This means, in the event an accommodation poses a burden on the school in terms of scheduling and logistic matters with the clinical facilities, the exemption may not be granted.  The clinic is not required to grant an exemption granted by the school.  The School does not control the clinic and cannot require it recognize the exemptions granted by the School. Even if an exemption is granted by the School, there is no guarantee the student can  be placed at a clinical facility. Placement will depend upon whether the clinical facility is willing to accept the unvaccinated student and space availability.

How to Apply for a Religious Exemption

Students interesting in applying for an exemption must complete the Religious Exemption Form. The form can be found here (https://www.standardcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Religious-Exemption-Form-COVID-19-VACCINE-Fillable.pdf ). In order to submit a request, you must:

  • Read the CDC COVID-10 Vaccine Information;
  • Initial and sign each page of the form;
  • Complete the Personal Statement Form;
  • Have your religious leader complete the Religious Organization Statement Form; and
  • Submit the completed documents to Heather Ettus at hettus@standardcollege.edu.

Assessment of Religious Exemption Request

The assessment of each religious exemption request will be carefully reviewed on a case-by-case basis. After the request has been reviewed, you will be notified in writing if an exemption has been granted or denied. The decision of Standard College is final and not subject to appeal. Individuals are permitted to reapply if new documentation and information should become available. Religious exemptions must be requested annually. If approved, the religious exemption will remain in effect for one year.

Medical Exemption

By law, students may request a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine. Even if an exemption is granted by the School, there is no guarantee the student can  be placed at a clinical facility. Placement will depend upon whether the clinical facility is willing to accept the unvaccinated student and space availability. In order for the school to consider the request, the student must complete a Medical Exemption Form and submit a note from a medical professional. The doctor’s notes must state the reason why it is medically contraindicated for the student to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The completed form, accompanied by the doctor’s note, must be sent to Heather Ettus at hettus@standardcollege.edu.

How to Apply for a Medical Exemption

Students interesting in applying for an exemption must complete the Medical Exemption Form. The form can be found here (https://www.standardcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Medical-Exemption-Form-COVID-19-VACCINE-Fillable.pdf) . In order to submit a request, you must:

Assessment of Medical Exemption Request

The assessment of each request for a medical exemption will be carefully reviewed on a case-by-case basis. After the request has been reviewed, you will be notified in writing if an exemption has been granted or denied. The decision of Standard College is final and not subject to appeal. Individuals are permitted to reapply if new documentation and information should become available. Medical exemptions expire when the medical condition(s) contraindicating COVID-19 vaccination changes in a manner which permits vaccination or upon graduation. The assigned expiration is at the sole determination of Standard College.

Granting an Exemption

When a religious or medical exemption is granted, Standard College will work to accommodate the student’s request, acting as a liaison between the student and clinical facility. Again, even if an exemption is granted by the School, there is no guarantee the student can  be placed at a clinical facility. Placement will depend upon whether the clinical facility is willing to accept the unvaccinated student and space availability. If the facility is willing to place an unvaccinated student and space is available at that facility, the student with an exemption granted will be given the opportunity to be placed at the facility. In such a case, the student would need to be aware that his/her graduation may be delayed, and that the clinical facility may change their policies at any point in time. As stated above, Standard College does not control the policies of the clinical sites. In addition, the exemption will be reviewed on an on-going basis. There could be a change of circumstances, such as an updated clinical site policy, which could directly impact the accommodation provided, such that the accommodation becomes an undue burden to the school. In this case, the accommodation previously granted will no longer remain in effect.

Standard College is committed to building an inclusive, equitable and diverse community. Standard College will not discriminate or retaliate against a student who requests a religious or medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine.