Summary of Policies, Guidance and Directives

The guidance and directives on this page reflect changes to university operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the university’s discretion, will supersede any conflicting policies. This guidance is subject to change as the situation requires. Compliance with these terms – and any further updates published at now.nmsu.edu – is required of all NMSU system faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action and/or removal from campus.

NMSU is committed to keeping the campus community updated, informed and healthy. If you have questions that aren’t answered in the resources below, please email COVID19@nmsu.edu.

COVID-19 Policy Update

(11/10/2021)

NMSU system requires COVID-19 vaccines for all employees, citing federal mandate

The below information pertains to new federal requirements regarding COVID-19 vaccines, which apply to the New Mexico State University system as a federal contractor. In this fluid environment, NMSU will monitor and respond to relevant developments and will communicate updates if needed.

Read the full university statement and see the below FAQs for additional details.

Yes. On Sept. 9, President Biden issued Executive Order 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. That was followed on Sept. 24 by guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force outlining the broad applicability and scope of required workplace safety protocols. 

The original deadline of Dec. 8, 2021, set by the federal guidance has been pushed back to Jan. 4, 2022, and the New Mexico State University system will extend its deadline in alignment with that federal extension.

New Mexico State University is a public research institution, and is among hundreds of universities in the United States that are considered to be federal contractors. Like many universities, NMSU has determined that to ensure full compliance with federal requirements and safeguard our community, all NMSU employees systemwide, including student, contract, and temporary employees, and employees teleworking, including from another state, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 as a condition of employment. Employees who do not comply or become approved for an exemption by the deadline will be subject to disciplinary action, including possible termination.

Guidelines detailing specific requirements under the Executive Order, including the deadline, were not issued until Sept. 24. Since that time, the university has been assessing the implications of the federal government’s guidance. As a result, the university instituted a revised vaccine policy as soon as it had all the necessary information.

NMSU could potentially lose federal contracts, be required to repay funds, and/or be ineligible for future contracts. The loss of federal contracts would also negatively impact NMSU’s ability to fulfill its mission and adversely affect communities across New Mexico.

To comply with the executive order, the university must have a systemwide policy applicable to all employees except those granted legal medical or religious exemptions.

The order applies to all graduate and undergraduate students who receive a paycheck through NMSU and students supported on graduate assistantships. The university will contact student employees who have not submitted a vaccination record to notify them of this new requirement. Students who are not employed by the university are not required to be vaccinated under this federal mandate, although students either need to be vaccinated or test weekly if they are accessing campus.

Per the federal requirements and the university policy, all employees must be fully vaccinated by midnight on Dec. 8. Those employees who are not already fully vaccinated will need to receive doses of the following vaccines by the following dates to be able to achieve full vaccination by the deadline:

Moderna          1st dose by 11/23/21            2nd dose by 12/21/21
Pfizer               1st dose by 11/30/21            2nd dose by 12/21/21
J&J                  1st dose by 12/21/21

Note: Individuals are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, which require four weeks or three weeks between doses, respectively. Dec. 21 is the last day individuals can get their final dose to meet the new Jan. 4 deadline.

Yes. All international COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or any governing regulatory body are accepted.

Employees must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 in accordance with applicable university policies.

No. An authorized COVID-19 booster shot is not currently required under the university’s policy.

The federal guidance states that the following will be considered valid forms of verification:

  • a copy of the record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy;
  • a copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card;
  • a copy of medical records documenting the vaccination;
  • a copy of immunization records from a public health or state immunization information system; or
  • a copy of any other official documentation verifying vaccination with information on the vaccine name, date(s) of administration, and the name of health care professional or clinic site administering vaccine

Employees must upload this documentation to the VaxTrax system.

Yes. NMSU’s verification process does not violate HIPAA regulations.

As of Nov. 9, more than 93.6% of faculty and staff and more than 78.7% of students who may be present on campus are fully vaccinated systemwide.

No. To ensure full compliance with the federal requirements, all university employees must be vaccinated, regardless of work location. Employees teleworking, including those in another state, are required to comply.

Yes, any individuals employed by any NMSU system campus or working for NMDA, CES, or AES must comply with the requirement to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

No. However, visitors are required to follow NMSU’s health and safety protocols, including mask-wearing requirements and social distancing.

Yes. All university employees must either be fully vaccinated or received a legal medical or religious exemption. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and available at many sites around New Mexico, including Aggie Health and Wellness Center. Visit vaccinenm.org to make your appointment. 

Medical and religious exemption requests for employees and students must be submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) at equity@nmsu.edu.

The federal guidance does not extend the Jan. 4 compliance deadline for individuals who apply for – but are not granted – a medical or religious exemption. 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.

Employees who receive a legal medical or religious exemption must still comply with the NMSU weekly testing requirement.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 are subject to termination in accordance with applicable university policies. Proof of an approved exemption is required.

Those vaccinated in New Mexico can replace a lost vaccine card by emailing COVID.Vaccines@state.nm.us. The process may take one to two weeks. Vaccine records are also available at vaxviewnm.org.

Yes, all employees, students, and guests must comply with the current New Mexico Public Health Order and NMSU mask mandates.

For questions not answered here, please email covid19@nmsu.edu.