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COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Overview

As of December 1, 2021, Los Rios Community College District requires evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination status for all employees. See Board Resolution 2021-18: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement.

Consistent with all applicable laws, Los Rios Community College District will grant limited exemptions for eligible documented medical conditions as well as narrowly defined and sincerely held religious beliefs. Learn how to request a medical or religious vaccination requirement exemption. Masks are required for all students and employees in any indoor space in Los Rios, regardless of vaccination status.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Operational Protocol

For the spring 2022 semester, all Los Rios students who attend in-person classes or access in-person services and all employees must meet our vaccination requirement. To provide clarity and details about the requirement and specific implications for students and employees, read the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Operational Protocol. Los Rios has negotiated the impacts of the requirement and protocol with all of our labor partners.

How to Submit Vaccine Documentation

Our system for employees to submit their vaccination status is now live in Employee Self-Service! To access it, log in to Employee Self-Service and click the COVID-19 Vaccination Status tile on the home page.

The system will ask whether you are partially or fully vaccinated, which vaccine you received, and the date(s) of your shot(s). The system will also ask you to provide verification of your vaccination status in one of the following ways:

Submit Vaccination Status

Need Help?

Contact the Help Desk at help@losrios.edu for help uploading your vaccination card. Keep in mind that files must be JPG, JPEG, PNG, or PDF, and cannot exceed 5MB in size.

How to Get Vaccinated

Local Vaccination Sites

Visit the Sacramento County vaccine website to learn about local vaccine availability. This site is updated frequently with information about eligibility and vaccine sites in your area, including how to access vaccines via healthcare providers. You can also visit the State of California's MyTurn website if you do not live in Sacramento County or you want more information about eligibility.

Allowable Exemptions

Exemptions to the vaccination requirement are limited and only available for certain medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs. Learn how to request a medical or religious vaccination requirement exemption.

FAQ: Vaccine Requirements

Are vaccinations required for faculty and staff?

As of December 1, 2021, all Los Rios employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file.

Consistent with all applicable laws, Los Rios will grant limited exemptions for eligible documented medical conditions as well as narrowly defined and sincerely held religious beliefs. Learn how to request a medical or religious vaccination requirement exemption.

By what date do I need to be fully vaccinated?

To enroll in in-person classes for the spring 2022 semester, all students must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file. Students who are not vaccinated or do not have an approved exemption on file for the spring 2022 semester are not allowed to come to campus for in-person classes or student support services.

As of December 1, 2021, all Los Rios employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file.

Do temporary classified and student workers who work 100% online need to meet the vaccine requirement to stay employed?

As with all other employees, temporary classified and student employees who work exclusively online must meet the vaccine requirement (meaning they are either vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file) to be in compliance with the vaccine requirement. Disciplinary action against an employee who does not meet the vaccine requirement (in the case of temporary classified and student employees, disciplinary action means that employment is immediately terminated) only begins when that employee arrives on campus or at any district facility in person.

Beginning in spring 2022, all temporary classified and student employees – even those who work exclusively online – must meet the vaccine requirement to maintain their employment.

How do I fill out my absence report if I have a vaccination appointment scheduled during work hours?

All permanent and adjunct Los Rios employees have been provided supplemental COVID-19 leave effective January 4 through June 30, 2022, to get their COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot without using regular sick leave or vacation time. For full-time employees, up to 20 hours of COVID leave is available; for part-time employees, up to 10 hours of COVID leave is available.

To take advantage of this Los Rios benefit (which is set to expire at the end of June):

  1. Notify your supervisor.
  2. Report your absence in Employee Self-Service as sick leave with the notation Emergency Sick Leave in the comments.
  3. Fill out the COVID Leave Form and submit it to Employee Benefits at DO-Benefits@losrios.edu.

How do I request a medical or religious exemption?

Exemptions to the vaccination requirement are limited and only available for certain medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs. Learn how to request a medical or religious vaccination requirement exemption.

What if I am not vaccinated or do not have an approved exemption on file?

Employees who have not provided proof of their vaccination status and do not have an approved exemption are subject to discipline, up to and including termination (consistent with the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Operational Protocol). We will follow all existing negotiated employee discipline policies and procedures fairly and swiftly.

Can I get tested instead of getting the vaccine?

No. The Los Rios colleges and our Board of Trustees believe vaccination is the fastest and best way to keep our community safe and end the pandemic. We will continue to offer online classes for students who can't or choose not to get vaccinated or receive an approved exemption.

How do I submit a vaccine requirement exemption request?

Exemptions to the vaccination requirement are limited and only available for certain medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs. Learn how to request a medical or religious vaccination requirement exemption.

If I have an approved exemption, does the requirement still impact me?

Yes, this requirement impacts everyone. Having an approved exemption on file does not mean you just continue with your job as if the requirement didn’t exist. For the small number of employees who have an approved exemption, we will work with you through the ADA process to determine if a reasonable accommodation is available.

Are Los Rios employees eligible for booster shots?

Updated October 12, 2021

Los Rios employees who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The CDC has approved boosters for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who are 65 years and older or who work in high-risk settings, including educational institutions.

Visit the CDC's booster shot webpage for more information and a full list of those who are eligible. To find available booster locations near you and make an appointment, visit the State of California’s MyTurn website.

Are booster shots required?

We strongly encourage all students and employees who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot immediately. Boosters are proven to dramatically reduce the chances of contracting the Omicron variant or becoming seriously ill if you do contract COVID-19.

In the next several weeks, we expect to announce a booster requirement for all eligible students and employees who are on campus as an extension of our existing vaccination requirement (eligibility is based on which COVID-19 vaccine you received and the date of your final dose – learn more at the CDC website).

Though we do not currently know when a booster requirement might go into effect, we encourage those who are eligible to get a booster shot immediately.

Existing approved medical and religious exemptions will apply to the updated vaccination requirement and do not need to be resubmitted.

Does the vaccination requirement apply to on-campus volunteers?

Yes, the district's vaccination requirement applies to volunteers. Volunteers must provide proof of vaccination to the administrator responsible for the program or area and receive approval/clearance from Human Resources before engaging in any in-person volunteer activities at Los Rios campuses or facilities.

As is the case for students and employees, beginning in spring 2022, volunteers must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file to be on campus. Exemptions to the vaccination requirement are limited and only available for certain medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs.

Volunteers who wish to apply for a medical or religious exemption should provide a complete exemption request form to the program administrator. Visit the Exemption Request page to find medical and religious exemption forms.

Have Los Rios unions/collective bargaining units been involved in this discussion?

Yes, Los Rios has completed negotiations with all of our collective bargaining units on the impacts of the vaccination requirement on employee groups. We will continue to work closely with all of our labor partners throughout the implementation and follow our negotiated contracts.

Can I continue my health coverage through COBRA if I lose my job for not meeting the vaccine requirement?

If you resign or are terminated from your current position, then you will be offered COBRA – which allows you to continue your health coverage – and you will be responsible for the full cost of premiums and a small administrative fee.

Can I choose to retire rather than get the vaccine?

If you qualify to retire, then you may follow our normal retirement procedures.

Retirement is defined in the collective bargaining agreements. The process for retirement for Managers and Confidential employees is defined in Board Policy 9411: Resignation/Retirement.

What will happen to my CalPERS/CalSTRS pension if I quit in lieu of meeting the vaccine requirement?

If you delay taking out your pension, then you will no longer earn service credit and your salary will not increase – but your age factor will – increasing your pension amount.

If you get another job covered by CalPERS/CalSTRS, then you will continue to earn PERS/STRS service credit and enhance your retirement.

Are there leaves I can take to postpone the deadline to get the vaccine?

As communicated by Associate Vice Chancellor Chanelle Whittaker in her September 13, 2021 email titled "Communications Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement and Operational Protocols," an employee who is out of compliance with the requirements of the Operational Protocol may elect to take an unpaid leave of absence through December 16, 2021, in lieu of engaging in the discipline process. An employee must elect to take this unpaid leave of absence before a vaccine requirement discipline process begins. Once an employee's discipline process begins, this option is no longer available.

If I enter the discipline process because I will not satisfy the vaccine requirement, then can I choose to retire during any part of this process?

Instructional faculty retirement dates are held to the end of the semester, so as to not disrupt the class and students. This will continue to be our practice.

Classified professionals and non-instructional faculty may resign or retire during a disciplinary process, as our current discipline processes outlined in contracts/board policy will be followed.

FAQ

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 or am exposed to someone who has?

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then do not come to campus. Refer to the following guidelines:

  1. Stay home and isolate for at least five days (see the California Department of Public Health's Stay Home Guidance) and adhere to the following recommendations:
    • Stay home except to get medical care.
    • Do not have any visitors.
    • Wear a face-covering around others.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if you can't wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Disinfect any surfaces you touch frequently.
    • Use a separate bathroom or disinfect a shared bathroom after each use.
    • Stay at least six feet away from other people, especially those in high-risk groups more likely to get sick (such as people who are over age 65 or severely overweight, or have a weak immune system or a chronic disease like cancer, diabetes, or heart/lung disease).
    • If you must be in a shared space, open windows when possible.
  2. Isolation can end after day 5 and you can return to campus on day 6 if both of the following are true:
    • Symptoms are not present or are resolving
    • A PCR test* collected on day 5 or later is negative
  3. Wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of ten days. At Los Rios, masks are required to be worn indoors.

* Testing can be done on campus through Biocept. If a PCR test is completed outside of Biocept, then provide a copy of the results. Rapid tests and home tests are not acceptable. Employees with a vaccination requirement exemption must test with Biocept.

If you have a fever, then continue to isolate until the fever resolves. If you have symptoms other than fever that are not resolving, then continue to isolate until symptoms are resolving or until after day 10. You may then return to campus on day 11.

Absence Reporting for Employees

Notify your manager/supervisor. If you are directed by your supervisor/manager to quarantine or isolate, then you will be provided notification and directions for absence reporting.

Please keep your manager/supervisor updated.

Reporting

Find procedures, forms, and training for each location:

If I am working 100% remotely and I have an approved exemption, then do I need to test every week?

Yes, to remain in compliance with the vaccine mandate, you are required to test each week in accordance with your agreed-upon accommodation. Because your supervisor or manager could ask you to come to a campus or district facility at any time, it is highly recommended that you remain in compliance. Each week that you do not test, you will receive an email indicating you are out of compliance with your testing requirement.

Though Los Rios Community College District is temporarily moving most in-person classes and services online from the start of the semester until Monday, January 31, employees who have an approved exemption must still get tested each week during the first two weeks of classes.

Are rapid tests available?

No – unfortunately, we only offer PCR testing at this time. If you need rapid testing, then we encourage you to find free county testing resources or secure an at-home testing kit.

Though the State of California has provided hundreds of thousands of rapid at-home testing kits to K-12 school districts, it has yet to make similar resources available to community colleges and other higher educational institutions. Though we have resources available to buy rapid tests, the issue is that access to those tests is currently very limited.

We are exploring options to make rapid testing available to Los Rios employees and students as soon as those tests become readily available.

Can friends and family of Los Rios students and employees get tested for COVID-19 at the Los Rios Biocept locations?

No – the Biocept testing locations at our colleges are only available for current Los Rios students and employees. Family and friends of students or employees should visit their county website for information about free testing resources in their area.

What happens if I miss my testing appointment?

If you miss your testing appointment and come to any college or district facility while out of compliance, then you are immediately subject to progressive discipline. After you have resumed your testing protocol, progressive discipline proceedings will stop but will resume from the same point in the process if there is a subsequent occurrence of missing a week of testing.

How often must I get tested for COVID?

Every student and employee who has an approved exemption needs to be tested weekly to be considered "cleared" and eligible to come to any college or district facility.

You must receive confirmation of your negative test result before coming to campus to be "cleared" and eligible for in-person activities. This means you need to get tested at least 48 to 72 hours before you come to campus to ensure time for your test to be processed.

Do I have to get tested on the same day and time each week?

Employees can get tested through our testing provider – Biocept – any time Monday through Thursday of each week. However, you must receive confirmation of your negative test results before coming to a college or district facility to be "cleared." This means you will need to get tested at least 48 to 72 hours before you expect to come to a college or district facility to ensure time for your test to be processed.

Biocept testing hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm; additionally, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Biocept is open for testing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

What if I don't have insurance?

Let the Biocept staff know if you don't have insurance when you arrive at your appointment. You can still be tested at no cost to you.

Can I go to any testing provider?

No, students and employees with an approved exemption need to get tested through the Los Rios approved provider, Biocept.

Biocept offers testing on the main campuses for American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, and Sacramento City College. Testing hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm; additionally, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Biocept is open for testing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.