Summary of Policies, Guidance and Directives for Employees

 

As announced on Oct. 27, all NMSU employees systemwide are required to become fully vaccinated, in accordance with Executive Order 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors and the follow-on guidance released Sept. 24 by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

On Nov. 4, the original deadline of Dec. 8, 2021, set by the federal guidance was pushed back to Jan. 4, 2022, and the New Mexico State University system extended its deadline in alignment with that federal extension.

Subsequent to that announcement, the White House clarified that Jan. 4 is the deadline to receive the final dose of vaccine, meaning that compliant individuals would be considered fully vaccinated by Jan. 18. As we have done previously, we revised our own mandate to align with the federal requirement.

To ensure full compliance with federal requirements and safeguard our community, all NMSU system employees, including student employees, contract or affiliate employees, and employees teleworking, including from another state in the U.S., must receive their second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or their single dose of a one-dose vaccine, by Jan. 4 as a condition of continued employment. Employees who do not comply or become approved for an exemption by the deadline will be subject to disciplinary action, including possible termination.

This vaccine policy applies to all full-time and part-time employees, undergraduate and graduate student employees, and contract employees. The vaccine requirement applies regardless of whether an employee works directly on a federal contract and regardless of work location within the United States. This requirement does not apply to students who are not employees of the NMSU system or to employees, students, and affiliates living outside the United States and not coming to the U.S for official university business.

Medical and religious exemption requests must be submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity at equity@nmsu.edu

New hires are required to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination or request an exemption through the Office of Institutional Equity within three business days of start date.

Testing, booster requirements end May 5

Monitoring and enforcing compliance with requirements of testing for students and employees with exemptions has been an important but extremely time-consuming process for many of our administrators and their staff. It’s also unclear how much longer PCR testing will be available at no cost, as federal funding to support this testing may soon run out. As a result, NMSU will discontinue its testing requirement after May 5.

We encourage continued testing as an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by allowing you to make timely decisions about quarantine and isolation; however, this will no longer be mandatory for anyone, including for employees who are vaccinated but have not yet received a booster. At this time, home tests are available for pickup at Aggie Health and Wellness Center, and Curative is still offering testing weekdays in the Pan Am parking lot.

Another change for faculty and staff is discontinuation of recording boosters. We highly encourage boosters for all, but we define fully vaccinated in the same way as the CDC: two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of their COVID-19 vaccination. Boosters add to vaccine efficacy, and a second booster dose has been authorized for those who are 50 and older or who are immunocompromised. You can register for a second booster shot at nmvaccine.org.

Adherence to COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols is a condition of employment

Employees failing to meet any of the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols as a condition of employment will be subject to corrective action, commensurate with the seriousness of the health and safety risks posed, which may involve warnings or more serious consequences, such as suspension without pay, demotion, or termination of employment.

Unless subject to a reasonable accommodation consistent with COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols based on disability, serious medical condition or non-discrimination under Title VII (approved by OIE or SAS), members of the NMSU Community must adhere to the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols published at https://now.nmsu.edu/

Exemptions

Medical and religious exemption requests for employees, including student employees, must be submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity at equity@nmsu.edu. Exemption requests take several weeks to process, and should be submitted as soon as possible. Submissions after Dec. 1 may not be approved in time for the Jan. 4 deadline. While an exemption is under consideration, individuals must continue to submit weekly test results in order to remain in compliance with NMSU’s COVID-19 policy.