Businesses across the country are preparing as President Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate is set to take effect. Back in September, Biden announced these new requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19. The president’s administration has been finalizing details over the last few months and on Nov. 4 announced the deadline set for January 4. Businesses with over 100 employees will now have to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or comply with weekly testing. Upon this announcement, many states filed a lawsuit against the mandate. Other challenges include the U.S Appeals court ruling to temporarily halt the mandate.
At Point Loma Nazarene University, school administration has taken many steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Since the beginning of students returning, PLNU has been offering testing on campus and vaccines have been made available through the Wellness Center. How will new mandate rules take shape on campus once fully implemented?
PLNU President Bob Brower in an interview with The Point, said the school is already compliant with the mandate.
“In order to comply with the mandate, we are providing vaccines on a regular basis – and our testing program continues throughout the fall semester and also throughout the spring semester,” Brower said .
According to PLNU’s COVID-19 Dashboard, 81% of school faculty have been fully vaccinated as well as 73% of undergraduate students. The school currently requires students and faculty who are not vaccinated to participate in weekly testing, which is in line with the mandate. Brower said compliance with this policy has been very strong.
Another part of the new rules will be tracking vaccination status for employees. PLNU has been using the Quickbase System to record vaccine details. Brower said this allows users to upload the information right from their vaccine cards into Quickbase. This also records your vaccination status with California Public Health, who can then issue a certificate that can be used for travelling abroad.
“For individuals travelling internationally, that additional step becomes very helpful in the process of entering into other countries and meeting their requirements,” Brower said.
Employers across the country are currently experiencing a staffing shortage amid reopening from COVID-19. In their most recent report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found over ten million job openings while the number of people leaving their jobs rose to a high of 4.4 million. With vaccination requirements becoming more common, many fear a worsening worker shortage. As staffing is needed for testing and vaccinations at PLNU, Brower says the school has addressed this issue. The increased staffing needed for these services are already in place and as vaccination on campus continues to grow, Brower is hopeful the need for tests will decrease.
As testing and vaccination services continue to be offered on campus, funding will also need to continue. According to Brower, the school is averaging approximately 900 tests per week and vaccines are readily available. When it comes to how that bill is being financed, Brower says the Federal Government has played an important role.
“We are able to have those funds from the COVID-19 relief bill to help us cover the costs of testing and our provisions for providing vaccines,” Brower said.
Although government financial assets have been helpful so far, they will not last forever. Brower says the school expects funding to continue through the rest of this academic year. If more services are needed after that, PLNU will have to find other means to cover the costs.
By: Kyle Alderman