Coronavirus Resources District information pertaining to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 vaccine viles

Vaccine Requirement Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: September 16, 2021

Thank you for your patience as we work through the details of the new vaccine mandate. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions. We will continue to provide more details as they become available.

To submit your questions, send an email to covid-19@scccd.edu.

Section 1: Vaccinations

The District is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for students and employees. COVID protocols have previously been established to ensure cooperation with local public health officials to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases. The tools available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have evolved dramatically, including the development, approval, distribution, and broad availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

Recently, the Food & Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine. Research shows that people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk of infection, adverse health consequences, and further spreading COVID-19, including the highly transmissible Delta Variant, to friends, family, colleagues, and the community at large. Research also shows that the overwhelming majority of serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and death resulting from COVID-19, including the Delta Variant, are among the unvaccinated.

Consistent with recommendations and directives from the State of California and the federal government, the Board of Trustees at the August 23, 2021 Board meeting, directed the Chancellor effective October 15, 2021, to ensure that all employees, students, contractors, and visitors present proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition to physically access any District building. The vaccine requirement will be developed consistent with applicable legal requirements, including exceptions for medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs.

All students and employees will be required to provide proof of full vaccination (or the single-dose Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson) unless they have requested and been granted a religious or medical exemption by October 8, 2021.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Proof of vaccination (vaccine card or other documentation) is required. You can report your COVID vaccine on the COVID Vaccine Submission page on the District portal. You can also access that page under the “SCCCD Resource Links” on the District Portal. If you self-attested in the portal previously but did not upload proof of vaccination, you will need to do so now. Your vaccination information will be secure and held confidentially by the District.

At this time, trained staff will review the uploaded vaccination cards. If staff have a question or concerns about the card, they may reach out to the cardholder to review the card in person or review the card in the state-wide database. The Response Teams will spot-check vaccination cards as needed.

For the student vaccine cards that will be uploaded, we are working to link to The California Immunization Registry (CAIR2), a secure, confidential, statewide computerized immunization information system for California residents.

The State of California offers a digital COVID-19 vaccine portal. The portal provides a digital copy of your vaccine record. If you received your vaccination from a federal agency (e.g., Department of Defense, Indian Health Services, or Veterans Affairs), you will need to reach out to those agencies for assistance with your vaccination record. You may request a Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record through the California Department of Public Health. Once received, follow the steps to upload proof of vaccination. You can report your COVID vaccine on the COVID Vaccine Submission page on the District portal.

One may also go to Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record and follow these steps:

  • Fill out your first name, last name, and date of birth.
  • Check “Cell Phone” or “Email” and enter the cell phone number or email address you used when filling out your vaccine paperwork. If you do not recall which cell phone number or email address you used, you may attempt with multiple numbers and addresses.
  • Choose a 4-digit code that you will use to retrieve your vaccine record. This is a new code, not something you previously gave to the vaccine site. Make sure you write it down.
  • Read the legal disclosure and check it, if you agree.
  • If the process was successful, you will receive a link by text or email; if the process was not successful, try again with a different phone number or email.
  • Click the link and input your 4-digit code to receive information on how to get your new digital record.

Yes. All employees who enter District-owned properties or facilities must provide proof of vaccination or submit a request for exemption. Employees who never come to District-owned facilities may not be required to comply with the vaccine requirement. However, all employees must be prepared at any time to report to District-owned facilities in person for work-related purposes.

If an employee is not vaccinated and is unable to report to District-owned facilities, that employee will be subject to discipline pursuant to Board Resolution 2021.28. Please contact your campus Human Resources Department for questions.

Yes. You will be required to wear a facial covering and observe COVID-19 safety protocols such as frequent hand washing and maintaining a physical distance.

If you are not fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021, you are not allowed to enter District facilities, except for persons who have a medical or religious exemption.

No. However, to maximize protection from COVID-19 and prevent possibly spreading it to others, all individuals are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. If you choose to come to campus to access services onsite, like counseling, tutoring and the library, you will need to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future. New data from the CDC released on August 11 suggests that vaccines are safe during pregnancy. Employees may contact the Human Resources department for potential options. This is a confidential process.

Register at myturn.ca.gov or call 833-422-4255 and schedule your appointment for a clinic in the community.

Employee health information is protected under applicable employment laws and is kept separately from the personnel file. Student health information is protected by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law enacted in 1974 that protects the privacy of student education records.

For the student vaccine cards that will be uploaded, that system will be linked to The California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) which is a secure, confidential, statewide computerized immunization information system for California residents.

Yes, all COVID-19 vaccines offered under emergency use authorization (EUA) or full approval by the FDA, as granted to Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021, will satisfy the vaccination requirement.

Initial supplies have been paid for by the federal government. All of SCCCD’s health plans cover CDC-recommended vaccines administered by an employee’s primary care physician or at a local pharmacy.

Students should contact their faculty/instructors regarding minor illnesses or disability services to address any significant issues.

If you are not fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021, you are not allowed to enter District facilities, except for persons who have a medical or religious exemption.

All students must be vaccinated until the mandate is rolled back.

Design Science High School students are also Fresno City College students. As such they follow FCC guidelines and rules, as well as FUSD guidelines. Vaccines for students are not a new concept for them. Students are to be vaccinated before entering Kindergarten and also be vaccinated (and show proof) upon entering 8th grade. This will be just another step in that vaccination path as they enter college. Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) has reported that the vast majority of Design Science High School students have benefited from the FCC Vaccine Voucher Program. For those students who are under 16, FUSD and FCC staff are working with parents to advise them of their educational options

The District and College Incident Response Teams are currently addressing this issue and expect to have a policy in place by September 24, 2021.

We do not have survey data. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that some students were considering dropping classes because they did not feel safe being in confined areas with other unvaccinated students, especially with the surging Delta variant. We also understand that some students who serve as caretakers for vulnerable populations have a heightened fear of potential exposure from unvaccinated persons.

If a student is not fully vaccinated and does not have a medical or religious exemption, we would like to work with that student to explore remote education opportunities.

There is a national survey on this topic that appears to echo what we are hearing anecdotally; students support vaccine mandates. You can read the full report from Inside Higher Ed.

The District and College Incident Response Teams are currently addressing this issue and expect to have a procedure in place by September 24, 2021.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021, will not be permitted to enter District facilities unless they have a medical or religious exemption. Employees who enter District facilities in violation of this requirement will be subject to discipline.

Non-compliance will be treated the same as any other non-compliance issue and will be subject to disciplinary action under the Education Code, District policies and regulations, Personnel Commission rules, and applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Employees who choose not to be vaccinated and who do not receive an approved exemption, will not meet SCCCD’s health and safety conditions for face-to-face in-person work.

Visitors are also required to present proof of being fully vaccinated. We are in the process of developing protocols for short-term guests for each of our campuses. At this time, visitors are required to wear a mask through the duration of their visit to campus.

Wait for guidance from the Vaccine Mandate Implementation Team.

The counties decide where to place the testing and vaccination sites.

According to public health officials, individuals can be vaccinated after completing the isolation period, they do not have to wait 90 days. Individuals who test positive before they receive their second dose may continue to receive the final dose at or after the normal interval.

The Vaccine Mandate Implementation Team is evaluating the use of third-party vendors as well as internal resources.

At this time, the Vaccine Mandate Implementation Team will continue to rely on the CDC’s definition of “fully vaccinated.” This definition does not currently require a booster shot to be fully vaccinated.

The Vaccine Mandate Implementation Team will be evaluating these instances and will provide further guidance.

The District Office continuously monitors and consults with our local public health officials for guidance regarding work-from-home or stay-at-home recommendations. Campuses currently have the ability to provide flexible schedules on a limited basis to encourage proper physical distancing in the workplace.

Section 2: Exemptions

Employees with serious health conditions who need to request a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement should visit the “Employment Disability Accommodations” webpage and follow the process to submit a request for a medical exemption. Sandi Edwards, Human Resources Analyst (Accommodations) will schedule a good faith, interactive discussion meeting with the employee. All requests are handled on a case-by-case basis. Employees should submit their request as soon as possible, but no later than September 15, 2021.

The District is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive experience for all employees and recognizes and supports employees with true and genuine observance of sincerely held religious beliefs that conflict with the practice of immunization. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to immunization are not accepted as religious in nature and do not qualify as a sincerely held religious belief for purposes of applying for a religious exemption. Individuals who hold a sincerely held religious belief that is contrary to the practice of vaccination must contact Julianna D. Mosier, Vice-Chancellor, Human Resources at julianna.mosier@scccd.edu, as soon as possible, but no later than September 15, 2021. Employees will be provided information on submitting their formal request, along with any documentation needed to support their request.

Students who wish to request a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination must complete and submit a medical or religious exemption form and have their request approved. Have a medical professional complete the Student Medical Exemption Form and submit it on the Student Health Portal.

The Student Medical Exemption Form must be completed and signed by a medical provider. Students and employees will be notified if the District needs additional information.

The soon-to-be-published Religious Exemption Request form must be completed according to instructions that will be provided on the form which is expected to be released any day. Please check back regularly.

The District will engage in an interactive process with students and employees who have an approved medical or religious exemption to explore accommodations to help ensure the health and safety of the person with an exemption and members of our community. In addition to other potential measures, weekly testing will be a requirement before a student or employee with an approved exemption may access a District facility. The specific processes are expected to be available by September 24, 2021.

If you receive a positive test, you will quarantine for at least 10 days or pursuant to public health authority requirements while your response team conducts a contact tracing investigation to mitigate any other potential infections.

Section 3: Facial Coverings

Yes. Currently, all individuals on District property must wear facial coverings regardless of vaccination status.

Yes. To maximize protection from COVID-19 and prevent possibly spreading it to others while on SCCCD premises, all employees are required to wear a facial covering while indoors.

No, N95 respirators are for voluntary use only, excluding medical professionals where they are part of the employer-required personal protective equipment.

Section 4: Testing

Any employee or student with an approved medical or religious exemption may be required to test at least weekly. The District and College Incident Response Teams are currently addressing this issue and expect to have a policy in place by September 24, 2021.

Section 5: Athletics

All SCCCD athletic teams are governed by the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). In order to compete in any sport, all athletes and department personnel were required to be tested weekly and within 48 hours of any intercollegiate competition. As of Fall 2021-22, 100% of all athletic department personnel and athletes must be tested weekly unless the athlete is vaccinated. If an athlete or department personnel is vaccinated, there is no testing requirement unless that person becomes symptomatic.

Section 6: Miscellaneous

Please follow your campus guidelines for travel. If work-related travel must happen, then all safety protocols must be followed. All safety precautions and requirements at work also apply to where you travel, including but not limited to wearing a facial covering indoors regardless of your vaccination status, taking time to wash and sanitize your hands, quarantining for 10 days if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and reporting a COVID-19 illness to your supervisor. This issue is under review and more specifics will be made available by September 24, 2021.

They were here last spring and will be invited back next spring. Employees can contact STRS through their website to schedule an appointment with an STRS retirement counselor.

Section 7: Additional Questions

Below are questions that have been submitted and the District is working to address. The answers to these questions will be added to this Frequently Asked Questions document. Please continue to check this page for updates.

Student Related Questions:

  1. How will vaccination cards be submitted for students? Who will address students who did not submit “fully” vaccinated documentation?
  2. Who can students talk to about their concerns surrounding the mandates?
  3. Will students receive refunds if they do not continue classes?
  4. Will students get incentives for getting the vaccine?
  5. Will students be reimbursed if they drop out?
  6. If students don’t get the vaccine, will they be dropped from classes? What status (EW or Administrative) for drops? Should/will these withdrawals be cleaned from their official transcripts?
  7. Will students that choose to withdraw, be given their money back?
  8. Will there also be refunds for textbooks and course materials?
  9. How will this affect financial aid?
  10. What are the plans for students that are currently in a “LAB” class and can no longer attend because they are not vaccinated?
  11. Will students be “transferred” to an online-only class if they decline the vaccine? If so, will that class be accepted at the CSU and UC, since the emergency exception for completing labs face to face is no longer in place?
  12. Will students only have to verify once for all District colleges and facilities?
  13. Who will communicate vaccination status to A & R for enrollment implications (restrictions/drops)?
  14. Does the application process need to be amended to place holds on students at the time of application to prevent registration before verification of vaccination?
  15. Will students be prevented from registering if not vaccinated (Spring 2022 registration begins October 12, 2021; fall 2021 2nd 9-week session starts October 11, 2021)? How will they be notified?
  16. Which students? On-campus and Hybrid only? Should other off-sites be included, i.e. Dinuba, Fresno Pacific, Sanger, etc.?
  17. What if students are in the process of vaccination by October 15, but have not had 2nd shot? Will they be dropped too?

Instructor Related Questions:

  1. What responsibilities do instructors have in this mandate?
  2. Are instructors expected to manage vaccination submission, reminders, and violations?
  3. How will instructors know if a student dropped due to a vaccination decision?
  4. Will instructor performance percentages be reflected in “Mandate drops.”
  5. Will current Face-to-Face classes be made available online so that students who opt not to get vaccinated can still remain enrolled?
  6. If students opt not to get the vaccine how do they switch to online learning mid-semester?
  7. Is the District planning to offer more online classes in the spring?
  8. Will the District allow faculty to choose to teach online if they are not vaccinated?
  9. For faculty, staff, and students who do receive both vaccines and still come down with COVID after one or both doses, will they need to miss work, classes, etc.? Will this be “allowed?” Will a staff member need to take sick days or will there be an allowance for “COVID flu” for those who got the vaccine? For some, their absence may be up to two days, and for others, maybe up to a week, two weeks, or in some cases longer. How will this be negotiated?

General questions:

  1. When it comes to athletic competitions, will the District allow unvaccinated visiting athletes on campus?
  2. Will the college community receive the MCC student COVID vaccine survey?
  3. Who determines what is a sincerely held religious belief?
  4. How is an instructor going to know if a student is vaccinated?
  5. If the mandate is: show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing, which test will be administered weekly? Please be specific about the actual procedure of the test, because the names of the tests seem to be ambiguous.
  6. If we are mandated to get the vaccine and have an adverse reaction, or long-term issues related to the vaccine, will SCCCD cover my future medical expenses as a worker's comp claim? If not, who will cover this if I am harmed by the mandate imposed by SCCCD?
  7. What if I have already had COVID 19 and/or have a natural immunity to the virus? Can an employee get testing through SCCCD to validate if there is already evidence of immunity in lieu of getting the vaccine?