May 10, 2021
Dear University of Oregon community members,
Over the past couple of weeks, university leadership engaged in broad discussions with a wide variety of experts and stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff, to develop our policy on COVID-19 vaccinations. We have concluded that to protect the health and safety of our university community and the communities we serve, the University of Oregon will require students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall 2021 academic term. Individuals will be able to request exemptions for medical and non-medical reasons. The science is clear: the COVID‑19 vaccine effectively eliminates the chances of death or serious illness in nearly all COVID‑19 infections.
Requiring vaccinations is critical for public health. It will help us to reach the highest level of protection possible, reduce infections, limit many of the disruptions of COVID-19, and safeguard the community we live in. It will also allow our campus community to return to the in-person and on-campus experience that is the cornerstone of academic success, student experience, and research innovation.
As with our existing vaccination requirements, under Oregon law, students will be exempted from the vaccination requirement if they have a medical or non-medical reason (e.g., religious, philosophical, or other belief). These exemptions will also be extended to our faculty and staff. More information on these exemptions is available on the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ webpage.
This announcement today is designed to provide us with ample time to work with our stakeholders on important implementation details. As the policy is finalized we will provide additional information about how students and employees can confirm they have been vaccinated or request exemptions. We will continue to share updates on the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.
Thank you again for your resilience during the pandemic and your commitment to our health and safety. This decision is the most important thing we can do to safeguard our community and ensure our success as we come back together in person for fall term.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law