UConn to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut is requiring that all its employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption that would require them to submit to weekly testing.
The policy, announced in a letter to faculty and staff Tuesday, is similar to one already instituted for residential students attending the fall semester at UConn.
Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, the school’s interim president, said the policy applies to employees at all UConn campuses as well as UConn Health in Farmington and was created in collaboration with the unions that represent faculty and staff.
Employees must show evidence of vaccination by Oct. 15 or request and receive an exemption or deferral, he said.
The school has about 9,800 full- and part-time employees, about 5,100 at the Storrs and its regional campuses in Hartford, Stamford, Avery Point and Waterbury and about 4,700 at UConn Health.
“As you are aware, at the University of Connecticut and UConn Health, our primary goal during this pandemic is to keep all employees, students, and patients safe,” Aguwnobi said in his letter. “This is particularly important given the rise of the Delta variant and the upcoming start of in-person classes.”
Students are scheduled to begin moving into dorms at UConn on Aug. 27, with classes beginning on Aug. 30.
The school announced Wednesday that 96% of students planning to live on campus in Storrs and 92% of residential students in Stamford are at least partially vaccinated.
An organization representing chief elected officials from southeastern Connecticut is asking Gov. Ned Lamont to issue a statewide mandate requiring that masks be worn indoors.
The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments sent a letter Wednesday to Lamont following a teleconference called to discuss the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the state.
Leaders from 20 of the organization’s 22 towns participated in the call, along with representatives from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, liaisons from the U.S. Navy’s submarine base and the Coast Guard Academy and representatives from the region’s three health districts.
“We thoroughly discussed the positive impact on health that an indoor mask wearing mandate would have, but we also note the difficulty that individual towns would have in enforcing a mandate at the municipal level,” Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn III wrote on behalf of the group. “Because the transmission of COVID-19 does not stop at municipal borders or regional boundaries, we also worry that imposition of a mask mandate on a own-by-town basis would not be as impactful as a statewide mandate.”
Lamont has been opposed to a statewide mandate, saying he prefers those decisions be made by municipalities and individual businesses.
Fairfield County has become the fifth county in Connecticut added to the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of high COVID-19 transmission areas.
New Haven, Hartford, New London, and Middlesex Counties also are listed as high transmission.
Tolland, Windham and Litchfield counties remain classified by the CDC as being areas of substantial transmission, the Department of Public Health said Wednesday.
The CDC recommends that residents in both categories where masks while indoors.
State health officials reported another 593 positive COVID-19 tests on Wednesday and said 348 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut, an increase of 27 since Tuesday.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has risen from 435.71 on Aug. 2 to 665.71 on Aug. 16, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.