Editor’s note: Following today’s issue, the university’s COVID-19 newsletter will publish on an as-needed basis until Jan. 19, 2022, when weekly publication will resume for the Spring 2022 semester.
Message from Chancellor Boyce About Federal Court Injunction of COVID Vaccine Mandate
On Tuesday, December 7, a federal court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the COVID vaccination mandate for federal contractors, which was set forth in a federal executive order and related guidance issued in September.
The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) gave university leaders the authority to follow the federal government’s executive order and related guidance as long as the order was not stayed, delayed or revoked. Since the executive order was stayed, the university is suspending its efforts to require vaccination of our employees. The vaccination requirement for those in an institutional clinical setting, which was permitted through separate board actions taken in August and September, shall remain in effect.
I want to thank all faculty, staff, and student employees who have been vaccinated. I especially want to express my appreciation to those who acted promptly to submit their vaccination record or request for an accommodation. Our community mobilized quickly in response to the mandate, and I appreciate the commitment shown by thousands of employees to respond. The university committee reviewing all pending requests for accommodation will put those requests on hold unless and until the mandate is reinstated.
We will continue to monitor any additional developments in the law, including any appeal of the Georgia decision and other court cases related to the vaccination mandate. As courts make their rulings, this situation could change. If the mandate is reinstated by a court, we will adjust our efforts accordingly.
While this action stays the mandate, the benefits of getting vaccinated are clear. As we approach the year-end holiday season when we will gather with family and friends, I urge everyone to make it a priority to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated.
On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Extended Through Dec. 18
The university will continue offering FREE COVID-19 testing for symptomatic or asymptomatic students, faculty and staff at the University-Oxford Depot on campus through Saturday, Dec. 18. Testing will be offered Monday-Friday from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday from 12 noon-4 p.m. See more details here. To schedule your test: Text “2020” to 833-991-3009 OR click on this link: http://86borders.com/l/68415e8f.
How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
Did you know that the university has hosted more than 60 vaccination events and administered 8,135 vaccines this year? Those who still need one or more doses may walk in to University Health Services weekdays between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. when the university is open to receive a vaccination. A list of local vaccine clinics is also on UM’s vaccination webpage.
Get a Flu Shot Before the Holidays
The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year. This CDC page has resources to answer your questions about flu vaccines. Faculty, staff and students can receive a flu shot at the University Health Center weekdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Featured FAQ: What are the current COVID-19 testing requirements for air travel to the U.S.?
Starting this week, all air passengers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States. The CDC continues to recommend that all travelers get a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after arrival, and that unvaccinated travelers should quarantine for 7 days after travel. For more information, see the CDC press release or this CDC resource page.
News Stories and Resources
- What you need to know about variants (CDC)
- COVID-19 Omicron variant confirmed in Mississippi (MSDH)
- FDA expands authorization of two monoclonal antibodies for treatment and post-exposure prevention of COVID-19 to younger pediatric patients, including newborns (FDA)
- 5 tips for avoiding surprise virus test bills (NYT)
- Omicron is prompting new rules for international travel to the U.S. Here’s what you need to know (MSNBC)
- Omicron and holiday travel: 12 of the most pressing questions (NYT)
- Pfizer, BioNTech say booster dose needed to fight Omicron (Bloomberg)
- How to carry your COVID health data on a smartphone (NYT)
- MSDH reported the following information for COVID-19 cases in Mississippi (as of Dec. 7):
- 787 new cases, 6 new deaths and 35 long-term care facilities outbreaks.
- Mississippi Vaccination Report (as of Dec. 8):
- 3,299,054 total doses administered; 1,625,066 people receiving at least one dose; and 1,423,193 people fully vaccinated.
- Lafayette County: 64,794 Total Doses Administered; 28,065 People Fully Vaccinated, 52% of Total Population Fully Vaccinated.