Regents ask UI employees to voluntarily confirm vaccination status, exemptions

In an email sent to University of Iowa employees, state Board of Regents President Mike Richards asked employees to voluntarily report their COVID-19 vaccination status.


Grace Smith

Board of Regents Office member Mark Braun, President Michael Richards, and President Pro Tem Sherry Bates listen to a speaker during the state of Iowa Board of Regents meeting in Reiman Ballroom at the Alumni Center in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Sam Knupp, News Reporter

State Board of Regents President Mike Richards is asking University of Iowa employees to voluntarily submit their documentation of COVID-19 vaccine status to the university. 

Richards wrote in an email to university employees on Wednesday that the regents are evaluating and preparing for the impact of a vaccine mandate exemption law signed into action by Gov. Kim Reynolds, and the executive order put into action by the Biden administration.

The regents voted to allow employees to obtain religious exemptions from federal vaccine mandates at its meeting on Nov. 4. 

The regents said they are working through how President Joe Biden’s impending vaccine and mask mandate for federal contractors will impact regent institutions.

Josh Lehman, senior communications director for the regents, wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that the letter was also sent to all employees at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

Richards added in the email that employees can also voluntarily get exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination for medical reasons.

RELATED: Executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, workplace safety protocols could impact UI faculty

The email said employees can receive an exemption by submitting written documentation that affirms:

  • A sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical belief
  • That receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would be detrimental to the health and well-being of the employee or an individual residing with the employee
  • A qualifying medical condition or disability

From May 20 regents guidance, the regents strongly encourage employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Richards wrote. 

Richards also mentioned that Reynolds had joined a multi-state lawsuit over the requirements of Executive Order 14042 but did not indicate how that would impact employees. 


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