Please read this page and the accompanying PDF document to learn about MSM's COVID-19 vaccination policy for Academic year 2021-2022.
An Update from MSM President James Gandre and MSM Provost Joyce Griggs
Dear MSM Community:
Congratulations on what has been a truly wonderful Fall semester. Successfully bringing the entire MSM Community back to campus, sustaining in-person instruction and performance, welcoming public audiences back to our halls: diligence and rigor has been required of each and every one of us. As highlighted in this year’s MSM holiday video, emailed earlier today, we have much to be grateful for and much to look forward to in 2022.
As we look ahead to spring, we want to continue the success we’ve had this fall, and so we are requiring a series of actions from you in order to once again access campus at the start of the semester.
COVID-19 BOOSTER REQUIREMENT
Amid the continuing transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant, expansion of the Omicron variant, and rising case counts in New York and, in recent days, on our campus, MSM will require that all eligible members of the MSM Community receive a COVID-19 booster vaccination. Higher education and arts institutions – including NYU and the Met Opera in NYC – are already requiring boosters.
“Eligible” includes those 16 years or older for whom:
1. six months have passed since receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine;
2. six months have passed since receiving their final dose of any WHO-listed vaccine; or
3. two months have passed since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Everyone in the MSM Community must have received, and provided proof of having received, an approved COVID-19 booster vaccination by February 15, 2022. This deadline comes six months after the Community’s initial vaccination deadline of August 15, 2021. Proof of booster status must be sent to https://airtable.com/shrRkqVqdMq3gq0O2 by the deadline; if you have already been boosted, we encourage you to send that proof as soon as possible. A photo or scan of your updated vaccination card is sufficient. Misrepresenting your vaccination status may result in expulsion or termination.
RETURNING TO FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER AND GATEWAY PCR TESTING
MSM is requiring that everyone in the Community receive a PCR test prior to returning to campus for the spring semester. All students, faculty, and staff must take a COVID-19 PCR test between January 5 and 7, 2022, and submit proof of a negative test by January 9, 2022. On January 4, we will share the process for uploading your PCR Gateway test results. Those who fail to do so will not be allowed on campus.
The above booster and testing requirements are vital to our effort to enhance the well-being of all in the MSM Community. Thank you in advance for taking the above guidelines to heart, and all our best wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy winter break!
Vaccines continue to prove extremely effective against the disease – against contracting it and, especially, against serious illness.
A few policies going forward for students, faculty and staff
Based on the information above from NYC and the CDC, as well as in conversation with peer conservatories, the following will be in place from August 23 through at least October 1, a timeframe that will allow our international students who were not able to be vaccinated in their home countries time to get vaccinated:
I am pleased to share with you MSM’s College COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, attached [link above].
The policy, which will take effect on August 15, 2021, is mandatory for all members of the MSM College Community and has been developed in accordance with CDC, New York State, and EEOC guidance to allow us to return to campus in preparation for on-campus operations in the fall. We want and must come back to campus with the safest possible conditions and strict adherence to the policy outlined on the attached document will allow that kind of return. I encourage you to please read carefully and fully the policy highlights below, as well as the attached policy document.
* Effective August 15, 2021, all College students, College faculty, and all staff entering the MSM Campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For purposes of the policy, an individual is 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). For those who have been vaccinated outside the U.S., MSM will accept any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
* If not already submitted, please submit your proof of vaccination to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. A photo or scan of the completed vaccination card is sufficient.
* Persons requesting a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination policy should follow the procedures outlined in the attached [“MSM COVID-19 Vaccination Policy in PDF,” link above].
* Misrepresenting your vaccination status may result in expulsion or termination.
Although masking and distancing are no longer required on campus for vaccinated individuals, I ask that you please be mindful and respectful of those who may prefer to continue wearing their mask and maintaining social distance.
Finally, I want to say again – because it can’t be said too often – congratulations and thank you to each and every one of you in the MSM Community for adapting to our shifting circumstances and for doing such incredible and effective work over the past 16 months. We truly were together wherever we were. I especially want to acknowledge those of you whose work required you to be on campus for our hybrid year; your steadfast commitment to maintaining MSM’s safety protocols contributed to a safe and successful 2020–21, one where not a single faculty or staff person on campus is known to have gotten ill after our safety policies and protocols were put in place.
Once again, thank you all in advance for reviewing and living up to the guidelines in the attached policy. I cannot tell you how eagerly I am anticipating seeing each and every one of you in August.
Meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying a renewed sense of well-being now that vaccinations are becoming more widespread. Enjoy your summer!
Dr. James Gandre
Commencing August 15, 2021
(Downloadable PDF version available at the top of this page.)
1. MSM COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (“the Policy” herein):
As of August 15, 2021, all College students, College faculty, and all staff entering the MSM Campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For purposes of this Policy, an individual is 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). For those who were vaccinated outside the US, MSM will accept for the purposes of the Policy any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
If not already submitted, individuals’ proof of vaccination – a photo or scan of the completed vaccination card is sufficient – should be submitted to email@example.com as soon as possible. Documentation submitted should only include proof of vaccination and not other medical or genetic information (e.g., family medical history). Documentation or other proof of vaccination will be maintained as confidential in accordance with applicable law. Misrepresenting vaccination status to MSM may result in expulsion or termination.
i) Students who are not fully vaccinated by August 15, 2021, will no longer be permitted on campus until fully vaccinated (see #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations).
International students arriving in the US to attend MSM who do not have access to a WHOapproved vaccine and, therefore, cannot be fully vaccinated prior to arrival in New York, should email firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the School of their situation. MSM’s COVID Response Manager will respond by email with a list of options for getting the vaccine in New York, as well as outlining MSM’s requirements (including testing and mask-wearing) while the full vaccination protocol is completed. Students in this situation will be required to get a first shot of a WHO-approved vaccine upon arrival in New York.
ii) Faculty who are not fully vaccinated by August 15, 2021, will no longer be permitted on campus and if not fully vaccinated by the beginning of the academic year, will be placed on temporary furlough until fully vaccinated and pending discussion with MSM. Working remotely in place of being fully vaccinated is not an available alternative. (See #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations.)
iii) Staff who are not fully vaccinated by August 15, 2021, will be placed on temporary administrative furlough until fully vaccinated and pending discussion with MSM. Working MSM COVID-19 Vaccination Policy remotely in place of being fully vaccinated is not an available alternative. (See #2 below for recognized exemptions/accommodations.)
Employees may, in appropriate circumstances in accordance with applicable law, be provided with paid leave for time needed to receive vaccinations. Staff members should work with their managers to schedule appropriate time to comply with this policy.
Please note that although mask-wearing is no longer required on campus for fully vaccinated individuals (as of June 16, 2021), all should be mindful and respectful of those who may still feel safest wearing their mask.
2. Exemptions/Accommodations (religious or medical):
Individuals claiming religious or medical exemption from the Policy should make a request for accommodation as outlined below. All exemption requests should be submitted to Caryn Kaplan (email@example.com).
i) Religious Exemption:
To claim a religious exemption, individuals must submit a statement affirming a sincerely held religious belief that precludes being vaccinated. The statement should explain the religious principle(s) that guide the objection to immunization. A letter from the claimant’s clergy or religious leader stating the religion’s belief concerning the COVID-19 vaccine may be required. If required, this letter must be on the clergy or religious leader’s letterhead. Personal and/or philosophical objections to vaccinations that are not tied to a sincerely held religious belief are not considered sufficient justification for granting an exemption.
ii) Medical Exemption:
To claim a medical exemption, individuals must submit documentation of a medical condition that is a contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine and, if applicable, the expected duration of the qualifying medical condition. The document must be signed by a qualified medical provider. The School reserves the right to contact the medical provider for purposes of authentication or clarification, as may be needed. Any medical information obtained in connection with a request for medical exemption will be maintained as confidential.
All claims for medical exemption will be reviewed carefully, and the School will engage in a good-faith, interactive dialogue with the claimant in order to fully understand the claimant’s specific circumstance. The School will then conduct an individualized assessment of the exemption request, determining the legitimacy of the claim, and if the claim is accepted, determining the feasibility of implementing a reasonable accommodation that will also allow for risk mitigation.
If an accommodation/exemption is granted to enable an unvaccinated person to be present on campus, the unvaccinated person will be subject to adhering to federal, state, and institutional guidance for unvaccinated individuals. These requirements will include observing social distancing requirements, wearing a face mask while on campus, and submitting to weekly PCR testing.
An unvaccinated person’s face mask must be worn in the proper manner, ensuring coverage of both mouth and nose. An unvaccinated person’s failure to wear a face mask in the proper manner while on campus could result in disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or termination. The unvaccinated person may also be required to observe additional safety precautions that are considered in the medical and scientific community to reflect best practices. Unvaccinated or vaccinated individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 should, as before, refrain from entering campus and seek medical assistance promptly.
Exemptions granted under this section may be revisited at intervals to determine whether exemption remains warranted. Individuals entering campus pursuant to a medical exemption may be asked to submit updated documentation for periodic reevaluation and confirmation of medically exempt status.
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