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KU, K-State, Wichita State requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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(AP) -The three largest public universities in Kansas will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Officials with Kansas State, the University of Kansas and Wichita State all announced Friday that employees will need to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. The announcement came after the Board of Regents determined that an executive order from President Joe Biden applies to universities that work on federal contracts.

Emporia State and Fort Hays are not subject to the mandate because they do not administer any federal contracts. Pittsburg State officials said the school was reviewing the requirements. Employees will be allowed to apply for religious or medical exemptions.

In a letter to Wichita State employees and students, WSU President Rick Muma said the requirement is in compliance with a federal mandate.

“I know many of you are aware of President Biden’s recent executive order regarding COVID practices and protocols relating to vaccines, masking and social distancing for federal contractors, and have had questions as to if – and how – this order might apply to WSU. After a thorough internal review of the order and its implementing guidance – and in consultation with state and federal partners, our fellow Kansas research institutions, and the president of the Kansas Board of Regents – we have determined that the order applies to the entire WSU workforce,” Muma wrote.

He clarified that the vaccine requirement applies “even to those covered employees who are working remotely (as long as they are working on or in connection with a covered contract).”

“Given the short timeframe for implementation and the length of vaccination protocols (in some cases, taking up to six weeks), unvaccinated employees should seek their first vaccine dose immediately,” Muma said in his letter.

Additionally at Wichita State, Muma said masks will be required for all individuals on campus, including employees, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Muma said the masking and physical distancing requirement, in compliance with the federal guidelines, will take effect Monday, Oct. 25.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.