TO: LR Campus Community
FR: Dr. Fred Whitt, President
DT: June 25, 2021
Following extensive discussions and deliberations with the COVID-19 taskforce, the leadership team, cabinet, the executive committee of the board of trustees, and local and regional public health experts, we have decided to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all Lenoir-Rhyne students, faculty and staff at all campus locations starting with the return to campus this fall. LR joins a group of more than 500 colleges and universities nationwide that are requiring vaccination to facilitate their return to normal operations for the fall semester.
The decision was based on ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our campus and broader community and is consistent with one of our LR values -- being a caring community. In addition, we believe requiring the vaccine is essential to provide the full LR experience for our students, faculty and staff—without masks, social distancing, quarantining and mandatory testing.
In order to return to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year, students, faculty and staff are required to complete the vaccination process on or before August 16, 2021. A completed vaccine process means that two weeks must have passed from the second vaccine shot (Pfizer or Moderna) or from the one-time Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That means you must receive your second shot (or the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine) by August 1, 2021.
Students who are approved for early arrival to campus for the fall semester prior to August 16 will need to complete their vaccination process before arrival to campus.
Students are required to submit a copy of their completed vaccine card online, while faculty and staff are to submit their proof of vaccination using Paycom. Approximately 1,000 LR faculty, staff and students have already fully completed the vaccination process; they simply need to upload their vaccine documentation ASAP and not later than July 18, 2021.
Individuals may be exempt from the vaccine requirement only if they show documented medical reasons or adherence to sincerely held bona fide religious beliefs as noted of the exemption forms. To request an exemption, you should submit the appropriate exemption form ASAP and no later than July 18, 2021. A committee will review the request and notify you of its decision. Exemption forms and FAQs will be made available on the university website the week of June 28. Students enrolled in online classes only who will not be on campus for the semester may be exempt from the vaccine requirement.
COVID vaccines are readily available from drugstores and public health departments. In addition, LR will work with Catawba County Public Health to offer an on-campus vaccine clinic during July. Information on finding a COVID vaccination site near you is available online.
If you have additional questions, please contact the following:
Getting a vaccine will help ensure the health and safety of not only the LR community, but of the Greater Hickory area. The LR community has shown considerable strength and resilience during the pandemic, and I appreciate your commitment to one another and to the broader community.