Loyola is not requiring COVID-19 vaccine of its employees

Loyola is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations of its students, but the same is not being expected of its employees.

This news comes as Loyola is beginning its first fully in-person semester in over a year, replacing the social distancing of last year with the protection of vaccines. But, with a vaccine requirement in place for students and not faculty and staff, some are left wondering why this is the case.

Ferris Distinguished Professor of Law Isabel Medina, who is fully vaccinated, said she thinks Loyola’s mandated vaccine requirement should have included faculty and staff.

“It didn’t make sense to require it just for students,” she said. “I don’t really know why the University did not require all employees to vaccinate.”

Despite the lack of requirement, 90% of full-time employees and 93% of full-time faculty on Loyola’s campus have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an email from University President Tania Tetlow on August 25. Associate Director of Public Affairs Patricia Murret said she believes this number may continue to rise as a result of the city of New Orleans’ decision to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to do many things off campus.

“We knew that the vast majority of our faculty and staff were planning to get vaccinated as soon as shots became available,” said Murret of the university’s decision to not require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Jeff Albert, the director of the School of Music Industry and the School of Music & Theatre Arts, is one of the 93% of full-time faculty to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
When the vaccine became more widely available in the spring, Albert said he received communication from Loyola saying that faculty and staff would be required to report their vaccination status to the school. The communication encouraged employees to get vaccinated, but didn’t require them to do so, according to Albert.
Albert said he understands that requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees is “a complicated issue.”
“Employment law is different than the way you can interact with students. If it were required, I’d be fine with that but I’m also glad I’m not so far up the food chain that I have to make those decisions,” he said.
Murret said the university has not received much pushback from faculty and staff regarding the vaccine and that employees have been “largely compliant with both reporting and getting vaccinations.”

Albert said he hasn’t heard many faculty come out strongly against the vaccine, but that “maybe people just know how I feel about it so they don’t say that in front of me.”

Despite not requiring the vaccination of faculty and staff, the number of full-time faculty fully vaccinated against COVID-19 just surpasses the students at 93%. 92% of students have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, according to Tetlow’s email.

“We hope to continue climbing, reaching the few of you who have yet to report,” said Tetlow.