COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students and employees

Dear Members of the Sweet Briar Community,

Technically speaking, summer may still be a few weeks off, but with Memorial Day behind us, it really does feel like the summer season has begun. I hope you all have been able to enjoy some warm weather with friends and family.

I am writing to let you know about our college’s plan for COVID-19 vaccination. For more than a year, Sweet Briar’s Taskforce on COVID-19 has met regularly to discuss the best ways to keep our community safe. In the last couple of months, the Taskforce was intensely focused on the question of whether or not the College should require all students and employees to be vaccinated.

Since last December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson –  for prevention of COVID-19, but because these are emergency approvals, I know some of you have concerns about their safety, though side effects have been rare.

Nearly 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States to date. According to the FDA, the vaccines are effective and safe – they were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials and will continue to be scrutinized in the most intense, thorough and transparent monitoring system the world has known.

Vaccinations have led to decreased COVID cases around the country and in Virginia. As a result, the CDC and state governments are issuing updated guidance about what activities are safe for fully vaccinated people.  Being fully vaccinated offers many benefits. For more information on the vaccines, their efficacy and their safety, please visit the CDC website, which contains a wealth of information.

Vaccines will play a critical role in our ability to live and learn together and return to a normal work, academic and social life here at Sweet Briar. As we prepare for the upcoming year, I am relieved that we now have an important tool at our disposal to ensure the continuing health and safety of our community.

For these reasons, I am letting you know that Sweet Briar College will require all students and employees to be fully vaccinated for the 2021-2022 academic year. Please know that you will need to verify your full vaccination status for COVID-19 prior to August 1, 2021. We will accommodate medical and religious exemptions for both students and employees.

Students can verify their status by sending a scan or photo of their vaccine card to covid@sbc.edu. Students who need to request an exemption should contact Dean Greenstein (kgreenstein@sbc.edu).

Employees will receive an email from Paycom tomorrow with instructions about how to submit their COVID card and how to request an exemption. Employees with questions should reach out to Nickcole Maynard-Errami (nmaynarderrami@sbc.edu or 434-381-6478).

Please keep in mind that it takes two weeks following the final dose of any vaccine for you to be considered fully vaccinated. For the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which require two doses, you will need to wait 3-6 weeks between doses. We ask that you will have completed your vaccination shots by July 18 to ensure that you are fully vaccinated by August 1 – students, this is well in time for your arrival to campus.

Students with questions about this vaccine requirement should reach out to Dean Garrett (dean@sbc.edu) or Dean Greenstein (kgreenstein@sbc.edu). International students may have particular needs or questions. One of our deans will reach out to you to discuss your particular situation. Employees should contact Nickcole Maynard-Errami (nmaynarderrami@sbc.edu) or Jodi Canfield (jcanfield@sbc.edu) and are encouraged to be in communication with their supervisors.

Thank you for keeping yourself and the Sweet Briar community safe. I can’t be more proud of you for looking after each other this academic year, and I look forward to the start of the new year.

Be well.
President Meredith Woo