According to internal emails that we've obtained, Boise State University will now require all employees to be vaccinated. The move by the university is to comply with the Biden Administration's Executive Order that is currently being challenged in the federal court system. Even though the administration has suspended enforcement of the mandate for private businesses according to CNBC.  Boise State seeks to comply with the yet to be determined legal order.  In a new development, Fox News is reporting that a federal judge had denied the Biden vaccination order for health care workers nationwide.  In another blow to Biden, another federal judge issued a ruling saying that federal contractors cannot be required to take the vaccine, reports CNN.

Governor Little issued a statement of support this evening:

“The courts are recognizing President Biden has no legal authority to force hospitals and other healthcare facilities to require their employees to get vaccinated. His illegal attempt would intensify a problem confronting our country – we already have a short supply of healthcare workers available to handle the pandemic. As I’ve stated before, Biden’s coercive, threatening attempts to increase vaccination rates damage a country already divided. He is breeding a level of resentment and distrust of government that will take generations to heal. His actions simply are not good for our country, now or in the long term,”

The university says they are only complying with the federal government. Mike Sharp, Director of Media Relations, told us, "We don't have a vaccine mandate. We're updating the campus on the federal vaccine mandate."  The university says they only seek to comply with the law.

The move by Boise State is a puzzling one considering the penalties have been suspended and the order could be ruled unconstitutional. What it means for Boise State employees is that they will have to get vaccinated or face. The email below does give a shout-out to the court case. However, the deadline is clear employees will have to be vaccinated by January 4.  

Governor Little's Office Responds:

We reached out to Emily Callihan, the governor's communications director, she replied to our email below.

"Boise State did not run the e-mail to its campus community past the Governor’s Office before sending it – despite Boise State mentioning the Governor’s Office in its message – and our office has concerns about the accuracy of statements in the e-mail as they pertain to how the President’s vaccine mandate is applied in this instance.

Governor Little is a party to three multistate lawsuits challenging the President’s vaccine mandates, including the federal contractor vaccine mandate that applies to state universities, and the Idaho Office of the State Board of Education is also party to the lawsuit on behalf of Idaho universities.

Governor Little is awaiting a hearing on the request for an injunction, in this case, expected this week, and we are hopeful the courts will bring implementation of Biden’s unprecedented government overreach into Americans’ lives to a screeching halt."

 

Here is the Boise State email that was sent to staff this morning.

 

 

You can read the entire email below:

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this email is to update you on the status of President Biden's vaccine mandate (Executive Order 14202, or "EO") — which requires that all employees of federal contractors be vaccinated — and its applicability to Boise State faculty, staff and student employees. 

As stated in HR's November 5, 2021 campus communication, Idaho's four-year public institutions continue to work with both the State Board of Education and the Governor's office to understand how the requirements of the order apply to our campus community. At the same time, a federal lawsuit challenging the order's validity was filed and a hearing on the request for injunctive relief is set for December 3, 2021. 

Barring an order from the court suspending the EO, all university employees, including faculty, staff and student employees, must either receive the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or submit a medical or religious exemption request to Boise State on or before January 4, 2022. 

Vaccination Deadlines

Although the date to comply with the EO has been extended several times, if you intend to get vaccinated, you should schedule your appointment(s) with the January 4, 2022 deadline in mind. For planning purposes, please be aware of the following dates:

December 7, 2021 - last day to receive first dose of the Moderna vaccine 

December 14, 2021 - last day to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine January 4, 2022 - last day to receive the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Boise State Vaccination Clinic currently has Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available. There are also multiple locations throughout the valley where vaccinations are readily available. Regardless of location, there is no cost for any COVID vaccine. Employees should schedule their vaccination appointment(s) as soon as possible to avoid any difficulties meeting the deadline. 

Proof of Vaccination

Pursuant to the EO, all employees who have not submitted an exemption request must demonstrate proof of vaccination no later than January 4, 2022. The university is finalizing a process that will allow employees to consent to allowing the Boise State COVID Testing Clinic confirm their vaccination status through IRIS, the state's immunization database, or alternatively, to show their vaccine card to public health staff in the clinic or in limited circumstances, via Zoom. Copies of vaccine cards will not be stored by Boise State and should not be transmitted by email. 

Additional information on this process will be communicated the week of December 6. 

Exemptions

Employees may request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. Requests will be evaluated following existing disability and religious accommodation laws. Pursuant to the EO, employees with approved exemptions will be required to follow enhanced masking and distancing protocols. 

Additional information on this process will be communicated the week of December 6.

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