RI Council on Postsecondary Education vote unanimously for faculty vaccine mandate at RIC, CCRI
On September 15, at its regular meeting, the Council on Postsecondary Education voted unanimously in support of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for faculty and non-classified employees at Rhode Island College, Community College of Rhode Island, Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, Westerly Education Center and Rhode Island Nursing Education Center. University of Rhode Island enacted a similar policy on September 2.
“Improving the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the higher education communities will improve the learning environment, and the policy has the broad support of those most impacted by it because of the level of consultation with faculty and staff,” said Shannon Gilkey, Ed.D., commissioner of postsecondary education. “Our long-term goal is restoration of the campus experience prior to March, 2020 and this is a major step in achieving that goal.”
The council’s faculty as well as full- and part-time non-classified employees will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by November 1. Exemptions for medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs will be recognized. Those granted exemptions or who are only partially vaccinated will be required to be tested regularly in accordance with COVID-19 testing protocols at the colleges and the offices. Exempted employees must test for the virus in accordance with existing protocols and will only be approved to work in person with proof of negative results.
At the council’s special meeting held on September 9, 2021, the proposed policy was presented for public comment and discussion. The policy is effective immediately.