OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to Minimize the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission in the Workplace
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this policy is to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on vaccination and testing to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace (29 CFR 1910.501).
This policy applies to all employees of Maryville University, except for employees who do not report to a workplace on campus or where other individuals (such as students, faculty, and staff) are present; employees who work exclusively from home; and employees who work exclusively outdoors.
Employees for whom the COVID-19 vaccines are medically contraindicated, who require a delay in vaccination for medical reasons, or who have a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prohibits them from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine must comply with the routine testing and face covering requirements for unvaccinated employees, as stated in this policy, unless the employee has been granted an exemption as described below.
This policy ensures that the Maryville University complies with the mandates outlined in the OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS by:
- Developing, implementing, and enforcing a COVID-19 vaccination policy.
- Outlining a process to determine the vaccination status of each employee including obtaining acceptable proof of vaccination, maintaining records of each employee’s vaccination status, and maintaining a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
- Making certain records available for inspection upon request.
- Supporting vaccination by providing employees reasonable paid time off, including up to four (4) hours of paid time, to receive each primary vaccination dose (for a total of up to eight (8) hours for a two-dose vaccine series), and reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects experienced following each primary vaccination dose.
- Ensuring that each employee who is not fully vaccinated and who is in the workplace at least once a week (or within seven (7) days before returning to work if away from the workplace for a week or longer) is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly.
- Requiring employees to promptly provide notice when they receive a positive COVID-19 test or are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Immediately removing from the workplace any employee, regardless of vaccination status, who receives a positive COVID-19 test or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider and keep the employee out of the workplace until return-to-work criteria are met.
- Reporting work-related COVID-19 fatalities to OSHA within eight (8) hours and work-related COVID-19 in-patient hospitalizations to OSHA within 24 hours.
- Ensuring that each employee who is not fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes, except in certain limited circumstances.
- Providing each employee with information about the requirements of the ETS; workplace policies and procedures established to implement the ETS; vaccine efficacy and safety; the benefits of being vaccinated; protections against retaliation and discrimination; and laws that provide for criminal penalties for knowingly supplying false documentation.
- Fully Vaccinated Employee: Employees will be considered fully vaccinated two (2) weeks after receiving the requisite number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. An employee will be considered partially vaccinated if they have received only one (1) dose of a two-dose vaccine. This definition of “fully vaccinated” may be changed in the future to require receipt of a COVID-19 booster shot, pursuant to CDC or other applicable guidance.
- Face Coverings: see Face Coverings section below
- Acceptable Proof of Vaccination: see below for acceptable documents
In compliance with the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Vaccination and Testing and to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, all Maryville University employees that report to a workplace on campus must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinated employees must submit proof of vaccination.
Employees who are medically constrained from receiving the vaccine, who require a delay in vaccination, or who have sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances that prohibit them from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine should refer to the policy for Unvaccinated Employees section below.
Providing Proof of Vaccination
All vaccinated employees are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of where they received vaccination. The documentation can be in the form of hard or digital copies, such as a photograph, digital image, or PDF. Proof of vaccination should be submitted via the Vaccination Reporting form.
Acceptable Proof of Vaccination Include:
- The record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy;
- A copy of the U.S. CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card;
- A copy of medical records documenting the vaccination;
- A copy of immunization records from a public health, state, or tribal immunization information system;
- A copy of any other official documentation that contains the type of vaccine administered, date(s) of administration, and the name of the health care professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s); or
- Self-attestation if the employee cannot find any of the above forms of proof after making a reasonable attempt to locate such proof.
Documentation Should Include
- The employee’s name;
- Type of vaccine administered;
- Date(s) of administration; and
- The name of the health care professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s).
In instances where an employee is unable to produce acceptable proof of vaccination, the employee can provide a signed and dated statement that:
- Attests to their vaccination status (fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated);
- Attests that they have lost or are otherwise unable to produce proof required by the standard; and
- Includes the following language:
“I declare (or certify, verify, or state) that this statement about my vaccination status is true and accurate. I understand that knowingly providing false information regarding my vaccination status on this form may subject me to criminal penalties.”
Employees providing attestations should include as much of this information as they can remember to the best of their ability.
Vaccination Status and Maintaining Vaccination Roster
Information regarding vaccination status and vaccination roster will be maintained in a secure database accessible to only those with permission who need to access the information.
Human Resources will maintain a record of COVID-19 vaccination for the purpose of monitoring compliance with this policy, the University’s overall COVID-19 safety programs, and any applicable laws and regulations governing vaccination programs. The University will limit access to that information on a need-to-know basis and maintain it separate from the employee’s personnel file as a confidential medical record.
The University may use and disclose employees’ vaccination status for its legitimate business purposes including, but not limited to, protecting the health and safety of students, those in the workplace, and business partners; managing employee leave, benefits, and accommodations; ensuring compliance with University policies; complying with contractual obligations; and meeting legal and regulatory requirements. The University may disclose employees’ vaccination status in electronic or other format to third parties for legitimate business purposes. The University will obtain the employee’s consent when required to do so by applicable state law before disclosing the employee’s vaccination status to third parties.
Leave Policy Supporting COVID-19 Vaccination
In accordance with the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), Maryville University will provide an employee with up to four (4) hours of paid time off to obtain primary COVID-19 vaccination, including the first and second dose of a two-dose vaccine series. Employees eligible for PTO do not need to utilize their accrued paid time off. Employees should notify and work with their supervisors to request paid time off for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. This paid time off is to cover the time spent traveling to a vaccine site, receiving the vaccine, and returning to work. Employees will not be paid for time spent receiving the vaccine outside of working hours. Any employee seeking paid time off for this time should document the time it takes to travel to a vaccine site, receive the vaccine, and return to work.
Paid time off is not available for vaccination appointments occurring prior to the effective date of this policy. As of the effective date of this policy, paid time off is not available to receive booster shots, though the University encourages employees to follow the CDC’s guidance regarding booster shots and to obtain a booster shot, if appropriate, outside of work hours.
Should an employee need time to recover from a primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (first and/or second dose), employees may use up to two (2) days of their accrued sick time to support their recovery. If an employee has accrued sick time available, the employee is required to use their accrued sick time to recover from vaccine side effects and may not use other forms of accrued leave, including vacation or personal leave balances. The University complies with applicable sick leave laws in addition to internal sick leave policies. Employees should contact the Human Resources Office for additional information or with specific questions.
Consistent with the OSHA ETS, Maryville requires all employees to submit proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or complete weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering, as described in this policy. Documentation verifying COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result must be submitted at least seven (7) days before a new employee’s start date. Maryville University’s Vaccination Policy outlines the standards for vaccination verification and negative COVID-19 test results.
Employee Notification of COVID-19 Result and Removal the Workplace
Maryville University requires employees to promptly notify Health & Wellness when they have tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider. This should be done by completing the Health Survey.
If an employee is experiencing any of the following symptoms of COVID-19, they should notify their supervisor and Health & Wellness by completing the Health Survey before coming to the workplace:
- Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher;
- Chills, cough, or shortness of breath; or
- Two of the following symptoms with no other explanation: fatigue, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
Employees experiencing these symptoms may be directed to stay home from work until they receive a negative test result. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must immediately notify their supervisor and Health & Wellness and follow the medical removal from the workplace procedures below.
Human Resources will notify the employee of any applicable PTO, sick leave, or FMLA leave that may be available for use during this time.
Medical Removal From Workplace
Maryville University has also implemented a policy for keeping COVID-19 positive employees from the workplace in certain circumstances. The University will immediately remove an employee from the workplace if they have received a positive COVID-19 test or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider (i.e., immediately send them home or to seek medical care, as appropriate).
Return to Work Criteria
For any employee removed because they are COVID-19 positive, Maryville University will keep them removed from the workplace until:
- The employee receives a negative result on a COVID-19 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) following a positive result on a COVID-19 antigen test if the employee chooses to take a NAAT test for confirmatory testing;
- Meets the return-to-work criteria in CDC’s “Isolation Guidance”; or
- Receives a recommendation to return to work from a licensed healthcare provider.
Under the CDC’s most recent “Isolation Guidance,” as of the effective date of this policy, asymptomatic employees may return to work once five (5) days have passed since the positive test (provided that they wear a face covering for five (5) additional days when around other people), and symptomatic employees may return to work after all the following are true:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
- At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months and need not delay the end of isolation).
If an employee has severe COVID-19 or an immune disease, the University will follow the guidance of a licensed healthcare provider regarding return to work.
Unvaccinated employees who report to their workplace on campus must:
- Be tested for COVID-19 at least once every seven (7) days; and
- Provide documentation of the most recent COVID-19 test result via the COVID-19 Submission Form no later than the seventh day following the date on which the employee last provided a test result.
Any employee who does not report to the workplace during a period of seven (7) or more days (e.g., if they were working remotely for two (2) weeks prior to reporting to the workplace) must:
- Be tested for COVID-19 within seven (7) days prior to returning to the workplace; and
- Provide documentation of that test result via the COVID-19 Submission Form upon return to the workplace.
If an employee does not provide documentation of a COVID-19 test result as required by this policy, they will be removed from the workplace until they provide a test result.
Employees who have received a positive COVID-19 test or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing for 90 days following the date of their positive test or diagnosis.
Maryville considers testing weeks Monday through Sunday, and the weekly testing deadline is Sunday at 11:59 p.m. There are two testing options: off-campus or on-campus.
Employees tested off-campus are responsible for providing documentation of their COVID-19 test results from a healthcare facility via Maryville’s COVID-19 Submission Form. Employees must submit their test results by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday of each week. Employees tested off-campus are responsible for covering the cost of the COVID-19 tests.
Acceptable Tests Under the ETS:
Under the ETS, a “COVID-19 test” must be a test for SARS-CoV-2 that is:
- cleared, approved, or authorized, including in an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to detect current infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (e.g., a viral test);
- administered in accordance with the authorized instructions; and
- not both self-administered and self-read unless observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor.
Examples of tests that satisfy this requirement include tests with specimens that are processed by a laboratory (including home or on-site collected specimens which are processed either individually or as pooled specimens), proctored over-the-counter tests, point of care tests, and tests where specimen collection and processing is either done or observed by an employer.
COVID-19 tests can broadly be divided into two categories, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests detect parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can be used to diagnose current infection. On the other hand, antibody tests look for antibodies in the immune system produced in response to SARS-CoV-2, and are not used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests do not meet the definition of COVID-19 test for the purposes of this ETS.
Diagnostic tests for current infection fall into two categories: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAATs are a type of molecular test that detect genetic material (nucleic acids); NAATs for COVID-19 identify the ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences that comprise the genetic material of the virus. Most NAATs need to be processed in a laboratory with variable time to receive results (approximately 1–2 days), but some NAATs are point-of-care tests, including a limited number of over-the-counter (OTC) tests, with results available in about 15–45 minutes.
Antigen tests may also meet the definition of COVID-19 test under this standard. Antigen tests indicate current infection by detecting the presence of a specific viral antigen. Most can be processed at the point of care and many are available over-the-counter, with results available in about 15 — 30 minutes. Antigen tests generally have similar specificity to, but are less sensitive than, NAATs.
To be a valid COVID-19 test under this standard, a test may not be both self-administered and self-read unless observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor. If an OTC test is being used, it must be used in accordance with the authorized instructions. The employer can validate the test through the use of a proctored test that is supervised by an authorized telehealth provider. Alternatively, the employer could proctor the OTC test itself.
OTC tests that feature digital reporting of date and time stamped results are not considered to be “self-read” and therefore do not require observation by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor to satisfy the standard.
On-Campus Testing: Maryville offers free weekly COVID-19 testing. Employees tested at Maryville do not need to submit the COVID-19 Test Submission Form. All testing takes place in Huttig Chapel. Full weekly testing instructions can be found here.
Test Results Documentation
Test results must contain the following information:
- Information that identifies the worker (i.e., full name plus at least one other identifier, such as date of birth), the specimen collection date;
- The type of test, the entity issuing the result (e.g., laboratory, healthcare entity); and
- The test result.
Employees covered by this policy who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings over the nose and mouth when indoors and when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes. Face coverings must:
- Completely cover the nose and mouth;
- Be made with two (2) or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source);
- Be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they should have two (2) layers of fabric or be folded to make two (2) layers;
- Fit snugly over the nose, mouth, and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face; and
- Be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, visible holes, punctures, or other openings.
Employees are required to supply their own face coverings that meet the requirements above.
Acceptable face coverings include clear face coverings or cloth face coverings with a clear plastic panel that, despite the non-cloth material allowing light to pass through, otherwise meet these criteria and which may be used to facilitate communication with people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth or facial expressions to understand speech or sign language respectively.
Employees may remove their face coverings under the following conditions:
- When an employee is alone in a room with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door.
- For a limited time, while an employee is eating or drinking at the workplace or for identification purposes in compliance with safety and security requirements.
- When an employee is otherwise wearing a respirator or facemask.
- Where the University has determined that the use of face coverings is infeasible or creates a greater hazard (e.g., when it is important to see the employee’s mouth for reasons related to their job duties, when the work requires the use of the employee’s uncovered mouth, or when the use of a face covering presents a risk of serious injury or death to the employee).
Policies and procedures for face coverings will be implemented, along with the other provisions required by OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS, as part of a multi-layered infection control approach for unvaccinated workers.
Vaccine Efficacy, Safety, and Benefits
In compliance with the OSHA ETS to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace , Maryville University encourages its employees to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy, safety, and benefits by visiting the CDC’s “Key Things to Know About COVID–19 Vaccines” at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html.
Exemption Requests by January 10, 2022
Employees who cannot receive any COVID-19 vaccine for medical or religious reasons must comply with the policy for Unvaccinated Employees above.
If an employee has a medical reason, supported by documentation from a licensed healthcare provider, or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prohibits the employee from complying with the policy for Unvaccinated Employees (from wearing a face covering and/or submitting to weekly COVID-19 testing), the employee should contact Human Resources by January 10, 2022 to request an exemption. Human Resources will engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee requesting the exemption to determine if there are any reasonable accommodations available that would not impose an undue hardship on the University.
No retaliation or disciplinary action shall be taken against an employee solely for exercising rights under the laws and regulations established by any governmental agency regarding health and safety in the workplace. Additionally, any employee who, in good faith, lawfully and truthfully seeks an exemption from participation in Maryville University’s vaccination program as an accommodation is following this policy. The University will not tolerate retaliation against that person. The University takes claims of retaliation seriously. Individuals who engage in retaliatory conduct will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been retaliated against for requesting an accommodation in good faith, you should immediately notify the University by contacting Human Resources.
False Statements or Documentation
Any employee who knowingly make or submits any false statements, representations, or documentation regarding this policy will be subject to fines and criminal penalties outlined in 18 U.S.C. 1001(a) and Section 17(g) of the OSHA Act.
This policy may be modified or revoked at any time at the sole discretion of Maryville University and is not intended to alter an employee’s at-will employment relationship.
Please direct any questions regarding this policy to the Human Resources Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.