COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Connecticut School Employees – Latest ‘Implementation’ Tips | Pullman & Comley – School Law
On September 10, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 13G, which established a revised COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees of Connecticut schools (and daycares). Like my colleague, Melinda Kaufmann noted, the revised mandate requires that all school employees hired on or after September 27, 2021 be 1) fully vaccinated, 2) in the process of being, or 3) exempt from compulsory vaccination either because the vaccine is likely to be injurious to the health of the individual or because of a sincere religious belief (and he / she is able to perform the essential functions of his / her job with reasonable accommodation which is not a burden excessive for the employer). Those who are not fully vaccinated should be tested weekly. In addition to the above, employees hired before September 27, 2021 can take the weekly COVID-19 test as an alternative to vaccination, whether they have a medical or religious exemption (but must also comply with all additional safety precautions imposed by the school).
Several questions remained unanswered and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (as previously promised) issued “13G Executive Order Implementation Guidelines” on September 17, 2021.
PROOF OF VACCINATION
The Guide lists the following categories of documents that employees can provide to prove vaccination:
- A valid CDC vaccination card, which must contain the employee’s name and date of birth, as well as the manufacturer (and date on which) the vaccine that was administered;
- A file from the vaccine supplier of the person providing the same information as indicated in point 1 above;
- A vaccine administration management system (“VAMS”) certificate, if the person has been vaccinated through the VAMS system, providing the same information, and
- A copy of the official immunization record of the person from the Connecticut Immunization Information System (CT WiZ. State Immunization Information Record) providing the same information.
In addition, these documents will only be considered valid if accompanied by the person’s signed statement as to the authenticity of their proof of vaccination (including any copies of these submitted records). The guide includes a model declaration form. Schools are not required to use this form, but any form they use should collect the same information as the standard form.
MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS / SPIRITUAL EXEMPTION REQUIREMENTS
People who cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine because getting the COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be detrimental to the health of the individual must request an exemption from Decree 13G via a form signed by the person’s physician (MD or DO), physician’s assistant or advanced practice nurse practitioner. The Guide includes a sample exemption form. Schools are not required to use this form, but any form they use should collect the same information as the standard form.
Those who oppose vaccination on the basis of a sincere religious or spiritual belief may request a waiver from Decree 13G using a waiver request form provided by the school. The guide includes a sample exemption form, but notes that schools “should determine, by discussing with their human resources directorate and legal advisor, what processes and information are appropriate and necessary for the review to determine whether a request for religious or spiritual exemption from COVID Vaccination against -19… must be accepted or rejected. This is why it is important for a school to have a policy that addresses these issues.
Covered workers in PreK-12 schools who are not “fully immunized” by September 27, 2021 must test for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) at least once a week (it i.e. at least one test every 7 days) unless they can provide documented proof that they have tested positive or diagnosed with COVID-19 infection within the previous 90 days. This waiver of testing is new; those submitting such a waiver request should use the form included in the Guide. These tests must be either PCR or SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests and must be administered and reported by a state-approved clinical laboratory, pharmacy testing provider, or other healthcare facility with a “Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments” in effect. to renouncer. Only test results submitted to the school within 72 hours of the test administration date will be deemed to meet the test requirements. Reports of test results should include the name and location of the testing laboratory or supplier’s facility, the name of the person being tested, the date the sample was taken, and the test result. Please note: Home tests and results obtained outside the types of establishments listed above are not considered sufficient proof of a test.
SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS
For vaccination, exemption and testing documents, the Guide simply states conclusively that schools “must establish a process that enables individuals …, the process established” and that these processes “can be developed, implemented and maintained either on-site by facility personnel or by an authorized third party. ”However, the Guide notes that“ processing delays with vaccine providers, VAMS, web applications, laboratories, health care providers medical or state agencies will not excuse compliance”With these mandates of Executive Decree 13G (in particular the deadline of September 27, 2021). Indeed, the guidance document notes that covered workers “are solely responsible for collecting and submitting all required documents by the established deadline to ensure they are in compliance as of September 27. 2021 ”.
Record keeping. Covered schools must keep the following information in paper or electronic format:
1) A master list of all covered workers, with the status of each person as: a) fully vaccinated, b) having received their first dose of a two-dose vaccine by September 27, 2021 and the expected date of their appointment – you for the second dose, c) have obtained a medical or religious exemption, or d) have chosen to undergo weekly tests instead of being fully immunized.
2) A COVID-19 vaccination record for each person fully or partially vaccinated, as well as completed and signed declarations of authenticity of any vaccination record for those who submit a copy of a vaccination record.
3) A completed, signed and approved medical or religious / spiritual exemption form for each person who has not been fully or partially vaccinated and who has obtained an exemption.
4) Adequate documented evidence of the results of a weekly test for SARS-CoV-2 for each individual who is not fully vaccinated and has not had a documented COVID-19 infection within the previous 90 days.
5) A completed and certified supplier request for a temporary waiver of weekly SARS-CoV-2 testing for individuals with documented COVID-19 infection within the previous 90 days.
So what about entrepreneurs? Schools do not need to keep similar documentation for contract workers, but should require contractors to positively affirm that their workers are in compliance with the provisions of Executive Decree 13G before granting such workers access. at their facilities. Contractors should keep the information described above in hard copy or electronic form for their contract workers. However, schools are responsible for obtaining reports from contractors regarding the compliance of their contract workers. The guidance document notes that “at a minimum, periodic reports of the number of contract workers who are vaccinated, have been granted an exemption, and are subject to weekly testing should be reported to the school board … at a frequency that the school board … determines is sufficient to ensure compliance.
Effect of test results and other nonconformities by employees. Workers should not have access to facilities covered by Executive 13G unless the most recent test result provided is “negative” or indicates that viral material is “not detected”. Results provided as “inconclusive” are not considered negative results and therefore require retesting. If an individual receives an inconclusive result and cannot be retested and provides a negative result within 7 days of their last negative test, then that individual should be excluded from work on site until they can provide a result. negative test. Additionally, after September 27, 2021, schools must restrict access to their facilities for those who fail to meet these mandates at all times (for example, a failure to submit adequate proof of a COVID test result). 19 weekly and / or receive a second dose of a two-dose vaccine when scheduled).
Application and inspections. All Covered Schools must collect and retain copies of required documentation for their Covered Workers and ensure compliance with Decree 13G by the September 27 deadline. Schools must make available to the State Department of Education for inspection any documentation required to confirm compliance with the College upon request. Childcare establishments must make available to the National Early Childhood Office for inspection any documentation required to confirm compliance with the order, upon request. Again, Processing delays with vaccine suppliers, VAMS, web applications or any other public body will not excuse compliance with the decree. Those who do not comply with the Order may be subject to sanctions, as set out in Executive Order 13G. Please note: Contract workers and contractors supplying such workers must be prepared to similarly comply with all provisions of the Order by September 27, 2021.
As always, stay tuned for future developments.