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college center building on puyallup

Students: Pierce College Requires Vaccinations This Fall

What does that mean?

Students must have their first vaccine dose and complete their vaccination or exemption attestation in ctcLink no later than September 20, 2021.

After attestation, students must provide proof of their vaccination or submit their exemption form in person or online in MyPierce no later than September 24, 2021.

Notice: Due to current processing times, you may still receive reminder emails and texts even if you have attested and verified your vaccination or exemption status. Do not worry – you will not be withdrawn from your classes if you have completed the verification process.

Forms

If you have questions about the vaccine attestation or exemption process, please email helpverifyvax@pierce.ctc.edu.

For full instructions on how to verify your vaccination or request an exemption, continue reading our Frequently Asked Questions for students and employees.

Employee Vaccination Requirements

Per state mandates, higher education employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, as a condition of employment. This applies to all employees, including full-time, part-time, student employees, and those who work remotely.

Employees must submit their attestation in ctcLink by October 5, 2021 at the latest and provide proof of vaccination or submit their exemption form to the HR department.

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Vaccination Information

What is the student deadline for vaccination?

By September 20, 2021, students must complete their vaccination or exemption attestation in ctcLink. If they only have one dose of their vaccine by then, that is fine. Once they receive their second dose, they will go back into ctcLink and finish their attestation.

By September 24, 2021, students must provide proof of their vaccination or submit their exemption form at the Campus Safety office at Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom. JBLM students can also verify their vaccination status at the Pierce offices in the education centers on JBLM. Students can also submit their verification online through MyPierce.

Documents required for vaccination verification include a photo ID and CDC immunization card, MyIR certificate, or doctor’s certification. Exemption forms can be downloaded on this page, and signed forms will be verified by the college.

On September 25, 2021, we will withdraw students from in-person classes who have yet to verify their vaccination or exemption status. If you will be  unable to verify your status by September 24, we encourage you to enroll in online classes only.

What if I will only have one dose of my vaccine by the first day of classes?

This is fine – you can attest a single dose in ctcLink and complete the verification process for your first dose. Then, you must return to the attestation and finish it when you complete your second dose. Your full vaccination must be verified in order to register for Winter Term 2021 classes.

How do I let the college know I am vaccinated or want an exemption?

Complete your vaccination or exemption attestation in ctcLink no later than September 20. See graphic below on how to do this. If you only have one dose of your vaccine by then, that is fine. You will need to attest and show proof of your second dose once you receive it. Exemption forms will be provided to students requesting an exemption.

Download "How to Complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation in ctcLink"

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Screenshots of ctcLink vaccine attestation screen

How do I show proof of vaccination or submit an exemption form?

After attestation, the next step is to provide proof of your vaccination or submit your exemption form no later than September 24 at the Campus Safety office at Puyallup or Fort Steilacoom. JBLM students can also verify their vaccination status at the Pierce offices in the education centers on JBLM. You can also submit your verification online through MyPierce.

Download Instructions for Pierce College Online Vaccination or Exemption Verification

Documents required for vaccination verification include a photo ID, Vaccine Verification form and CDC immunization card, MyIR certificate or doctor's certification. To request an exemption, submit a signed form. Signed forms will be verified by the college.

Can I complete a religious exemption or vaccination form if I am under the age of 18 without a parental signature?

Yes, enrolled students under the age of 18 are not considered minor children per college policy.

Do I need to be vaccinated or get an exemption if I am only taking online classes?

Students taking their classes fully online are not required to be vaccinated as long as they do not physically come on to campus for support services or any other reason.

What happens if I don’t get vaccinated or get an exemption?

It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct if you either misrepresent your vaccination status or exemption or come to campus after September 24 without taking the necessary steps to verify your vaccination status or exemption.

Unfortunately, if you plan to attend face-to-face classes and do not have at least one vaccination shot or have an approved exemption after September 24, the college will have to administratively withdraw you from those classes. If you know that will be the case, we encourage you to talk to your advisor and switch to fully online courses. 

If I am not going to get vaccinated or get an exemption, do I need to withdraw?

No.  If you do not think it will be possible to be vaccinated or acquire an exemption, we encourage you to look for courses that are offered fully online.  

Where can I get vaccinated?

You can find opportunities to get vaccinated free of charge at Vaccinate WA. We are also holding more vaccination clinics on campus in the coming weeks.

Does the vaccination proclamation apply to health care students?

Yes, students who have clinical rotations must follow the same vaccination requirements of Pierce College. The Vaccine Mandate Proclamation (Proclamation 21-14.1) requires health care workers at all institutions to show proof of vaccination by October 18 or to have a medical or religious exemption by then.

Does the vaccination proclamation apply to Running Start students?

The rules for Running Start students are the same as any other college students. Running Start students are considered college students and need to follow the same rules of being vaccinated or having an exemption for in-person classes or student services. 

Does the vaccination proclamation apply to Community and Continuing Education students?

Yes. Community and Continuing Education students attending an in-person class are required to be vaccinated or receive a medical or religious exemption. However, you do not need to complete an attestation in ctcLink. Instead, please bring your proof of COVID-19 vaccination, picture ID and vaccine verification form or exemption verification form to the first class session. If you cannot attend your first class session or have other questions, please contact the Community and Continuing Education Director at 253-840-8450 or rmcginnis@pierce.ctc.edu.

If I am granted a religious or medical exemption, can I attend face-to-face classes?

A student who is granted a religious or medical exemption is entitled to a reasonable accommodation. The exact format of the accommodation will depend on the individual situation that the student and Pierce College faces.

If I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?

At this time, masks are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Guidelines can change, so please bookmark the Coming to Campus page and check it frequently before you come to campus to see the current requirements.

Employee Vaccination Information

What is the employee deadline for vaccination?

Per Governor Inslee's latest COVID-19 vaccination announcement, higher education employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment. The mandate applies to all employees, including full-time, part-time, student employees, and those who work remotely. Medical and religious exemptions will be offered, and additional information will be provided on how to do this.

We highly encourage you to get vaccinated now if you haven’t already. If you have any questions or concerns about any vaccine, please be sure to talk with your health care provider.

To allow time for unvaccinated employees to meet the October 18, 2021, deadline, please refer to this chart below. It also takes in account the two-week time afterward for the vaccine to take full effect.

Vaccine Series Dose Requirement First Dose No Later Than Second Dose No Later Than Fully Vaccinated
Pfizer 2 doses, 21 days apart 9/13/2021 10/4/2021 10/18/2021
Moderna 2 doses, 28 days apart 9/6/2021 10/4/2021 10/18/2021
Johnson & Johnson Single dose 10/4/2021 N/A 10/18/2021

How do I let the college know I am vaccinated or want an exemption?

Complete your vaccination or exemption attestation in ctcLink See graphic below on how to do this. If you only have one dose of your vaccine right now, that is fine. You will need to attest and show proof of your second dose once you receive it. Employees requesting an exemption will be contacted by Human Resources.

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Screenshots of ctcLink vaccine attestation screen

Does the vaccination requirement apply to student employees?

Yes, the vaccination requirement applies to student employees. Employees are considered to be anybody who is on the college payroll and who receives a W-2 form. For student employees with off-campus placements, the vaccination requirement still applies.

Does the vaccination requirement apply to employees who work remotely?

Yes, the proclamation applies to all employees, even if they work entirely online. This includes employees who work remotely from other states or countries.

Does the vaccination requirement apply to volunteers who come on campus?

Yes, the proclamation applies to volunteers who come on campus.

Does the vaccination requirement apply to visitors who come on campus?

No, the proclamation does not apply to visitors who come to campus. Visitors on campus must wear masks and observe other safety precautions that apply to unvaccinated individuals.

Does the vaccination requirement apply to trustees and foundation board members?

The vaccination mandate applies to college trustees and to members of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, regardless of whether they come to campus or work remotely. Foundation board members are considered volunteers, so the proclamation applies only if they come to campus.

Is the vaccination mandate subject to collective bargaining?

Yes, unions may request to bargain the impacts of mandatory vaccines. Faculty will bargain at the college level through the Washington Education Association (WEA) or the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

For classified staff, bargaining will occur at the state level, between the Labor Relations Office (within the Office of Financial Management), the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), and the Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA). Classified staff at technical colleges will bargain locally with their colleges, as will classified staff at colleges that are not part of the bargaining coalition represented by OFM.

How are employee medical or religious vaccine exemptions determined?

Being fully vaccinated is a condition of employment with the state, and Pierce College’s process for exemptions from this requirement is guided by state government.

Medical or religious exemptions and accommodation are two separate things.  First an employee requests an exemption. The state has created forms for employees to request a medical or religious exemption. Once an employee indicates in ctcLink that they need an exemption, Pierce College Human Resources will send them the appropriate form through email. If the exemption is granted, the next step of the process is to do an assessment to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation available.

Once an exemption is requested, the employee can expect an interactive process to determine whether the circumstances qualify under the exemption requirements. Then, if the exemption is approved, they will engage in an interactive process about whether an effective reasonable accommodation exists to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of their job.

Each case will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if an effective reasonable accommodation may exist, or a reasonable accommodation does not exist. Following the interactive process, the employee will be notified of what accommodations, if any, are available to permit them to continue in their position absent the vaccination. While separation could be a result of the process if no accommodations are available, each accommodation is evaluated uniquely.

What is the process for dismissing employees who are not vaccinated or who don’t have an exemption by October 18, 2021?

For faculty, the separation process is determined by local collective bargaining agreements. For classified staff and exempt employees, the separation process is determined by collective bargaining agreements, civil service rules, or college policies.

Will employees who are terminated receive unemployment benefits?

The Employment Security Department indicated that it would review unemployment applications on a case-by-case basis. In general, unemployment benefits are not granted to people who do not meet a condition of employment.

Do we have to verify for booster shots?

No for now.  Booster shots have not yet been formally recommended.