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Two people seated at opposite ends of a table, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine Mandate FAQs

In light of the fact that COVID-19 infection rates are rising rapidly across the country and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, we have decided to expand the university's existing vaccination mandate for resident students.

OU is requiring that all students, faculty and staff planning to attend in-person courses and all other university activities on campus and at off-site locations be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus for the 2021-2022 academic year.

This will continue to require more of each of us. To protect yourself, your family and your community, you must get vaccinated and wear your mask.

Below are answers for frequently asked questions.

Last updated on November 1, 2021


Why is OU mandating a COVID-19 vaccine and why now?
COVID-19 infection rates are rising rapidly as variants of the virus spread and it becomes increasingly virulent. The university must strive to achieve a campus community immunization rate of 100% to ensure the health and safety of the population. Addressing concerns about vaccine safety, the Food and Drug Administration has fully approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, moving it beyond the “emergency use” authorization granted December 2020.

Who does the mandate impact?
The vaccination mandate applies to all Oakland University students, faculty and staff who plan to attend classes, utilize services or attend activities, in person on Oakland University's main campus or at any off campus locations owned or operated by Oakland University. The mandate does not apply to students taking online courses only.

What is the definition of “on campus”?
“On campus” applies to any university activity involving in-person participation at a university facility.

What is the vaccine deadline for the Winter Semester?
If you haven't already done so, please upload your completed COVID-19 vaccine record by December 13. If you've already uploaded your vaccine status, you do NOT need to do it again.

How do I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
All members of the OU community – including students, faculty, staff and their families – can receive a COVID-19 vaccine through the Graham Health Center. Additional COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites are listed at vaccines.gov.

How can OU legally mandate a vaccine?
There is legal precedent for institutions to require vaccines. This was confirmed on August 2, 2021, by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving Indiana University’s vaccine mandate. In the state of Michigan, limited exemptions to vaccine mandates are provided for religious and medical reasons.
Compliance and Exemption

I’ve already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. Those who have been sick should consult their health care provider regarding how long they should wait following infection to receive a vaccine. Campus community members unable to get vaccinated prior to established deadlines will need to file a medical exemption form. Employees exempted for this reason will need to notify Human Resources of their intentions and vaccination plans once they become eligible to receive the vaccine.

Do I still need to submit the Daily Health Screening form?
Yes. All campus community members and guests coming to campus must continue to complete daily health screening forms.

What are the consequences of not complying with the vaccine and mask requirements?
Unvaccinated students are not allowed on campus and violation of this requirement will result in disciplinary action. Non-compliance with mask requirements is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and could result in disciplinary action administered by the Office of the Dean of Students. For faculty and staff, vaccination is a condition of employment. Those who violate the vaccine or mask requirements may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

Who will need to determine whether faculty, staff and students in offices are vaccinated?
There will be an attestation process, and all faculty, staff and students will be required to attest to being vaccinated unless they have received a religious or medical exemption through the appropriate process.

Mandatory COVID Vaccine Policy - Exemption Process Information
Oakland University currently requires that all faculty, students and staff who will be on-campus or in other University controlled facilities be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination of faculty, students and staff against COVID-19 will significantly reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and is the clearest path to the resumption of full on-campus living and learning.

The exemption process for students is reviewed by the Dean of Students office. More information for students can be found on the Dean of Students website. Please see the specific exemption forms for additional information.

Data and Privacy

Who will have access to verification and exemption information submitted by students, faculty and staff?
The information will be kept secure and reviewed only by OU leadership and public health professionals. Personal identifiable information will not be shared with the public, faculty, classmates or supervisors.


The Division of Academic Affairs profoundly thanks all faculty for their commitment to ensuring student success as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging, uncertain and evolving times, compassion, patience and understanding will facilitate a successful semester.

Due to the Vaccine and Mask Mandates that have been issued, ALL students, faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated. For the Winter Semester, the first dose is due by November 15, 2021. The second dose is due by December 13, 2021. All students, faculty and staff must upload their vaccination card to GHC , as well as wear a face mask that covers the nose and the mouth in all indoor spaces. (Any exceptions must be approved by the Dean of Students.) Face shields alone ARE NOT acceptable or a substitute for a face covering.

I am not vaccinated. Can I work remotely?
No. Employees can work remotely under current Flexible Work Arrangements only if they are vaccinated and have their supervisors' approval.

Can unvaccinated students attend in person classes?
Unvaccinated students can attend in-person classes as long as they have an approved exemption from the Dean of Students, comply with mandatory weekly testing, and wear a mask.

Can unvaccinated faculty with exemptions teach in person?
Faculty teaching face-to-face classes with exemptions will be required to engage in weekly testing and wear a mask.

Will instructors be given information on students' vaccination status?
Health related data are protected, thereby prohibiting the sharing of student information regarding vaccination status. However, only vaccinated and exempt students with negative tests will be allowed to attend in-person classes.  A testing compliance plan for unvaccinated students with approved exemptions is being developed and will be monitored by the Office of Student Affairs.

What should I do if a student comes to class without a face covering?
If a student comes to class without a mask, or isn’t wearing a mask:

  • Ask the student to put on a mask. Use your persuasive skills (i.e. remind them that they are potentially endangering everyone else in the classroom).
  • If they still refuse to put on a mask, ask them to leave.
  • If the student refuses to leave, it is recommended that the instructor cancel the class and immediately
    • Submit an incident report
    • The Dean of Students office will follow up with the instructor and the student prior to the next scheduled class session
    • Call OUPD at (248) 370-3331 if the instructor is concerned about the threat of potential violence in their classroom. 

What should I do if a student is unable to wear a face covering?
Students who cannot wear a face mask due to a medical condition, must contact the Dean of Students with the appropriate documentation. The Dean of Students will work with the Faculty to develop a plan for the student if possible.

Who is required to complete the daily health screening?
All faculty, students, and staff who intend to be on campus are required to complete the daily health screening, regardless of vaccination status. Faculty are encouraged to take attendance during each class period with Moodle, encourage students to sit in the same seat and to exchange names with people sitting within 6 ft to facilitate contact tracing. 

What should happen if a student is not approved to come to campus?
Students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must complete the health screening form and are not approved to come to campus.  They should contact their instructor and the Graham Health Center.

Students who cannot attend class should check with their instructor to determine whether or not virtual attendance is possible. Many classrooms have been outfitted with the necessary technology to record  and/or livestream lectures. If needed, please contact CSITS for instructions and/or training. If you are live streaming you must provide a link to the live streaming in Moodle. Please make sure students are aware of the link and provide instructions on how to use the link. Student Help Library

If a student has a class in a location other than the main campus, are they still required to be vaccinated?

All students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated. Those with approved medical or religious exemptions will be required to engage in weekly testing to attend any face-to-face experience on campus or in another location.

What do we do with students who are asking to participate remotely in an in-person class due to health concerns, fear, or not being able to enter the US? Is there a centralized process that will handle these requests?

Students will need to get vaccinated or have an approved exemption. It is up to the faculty member’s discretion to decide if they will record or livestream their lectures and what “like” materials they will provide to students to support student success.

What happens if I, as faculty, cannot attend class?
Faculty who cannot attend class for any reason should contact their Department Chair and students as soon as possible to prevent students from waiting unnecessarily and to provide them with information on how to complete the coursework online.

With a mask I have difficulty communicating with the students during lecture. Are there options to assist my instruction?
Any instructor who needs a microphone should contact classroom support to receive one. They are available for all classrooms. There are plastic brackets that you can put inside your mask that keeps the fabric from your lips and helps with pronunciation and breathing (example https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Face-Mask-Bracket-Breathability/dp/B08NZXQKNH).

How should my course be taught if I need to move a course to an online format?
If the instructional delivery of a course needs to be changed, the Dean’s office must be notified. Courses that move from an in-person or hybrid delivery to a fully online delivery will be taught synchronously on the days and times of the original delivery format.

Should faculty currently scheduled to teach in person on campus who want to move to online instruction because of concerns with unvaccinated students remain in their existing modality?

The vaccine mandate has been implemented to minimize the risk of exposure to all faculty, staff, and students. Only vaccinated and students receiving an exemption and who undergo regular testing will be allowed to attend classes in person. Any changes in modality must be approved by the appropriate Dean’s Office. Faculty may not change their modality without approval.

How can I access up-to-date information regarding current COVID-19 recommendations?
All OU community members are highly encouraged to keep up-to-date with the OU Covid-19 Campus Information webpage. We recommend that this link be put on the syllabus and encourage students to regularly check for updates. Sample Syllabus Template with the link to COVID updates.

Guest/Volunteers/Outside Entities

Will guests and volunteers on campus need to be vaccinated?
All individuals on campus are required to be masked indoors. Guests are encouraged to be vaccinated, but not mandated to be. Volunteers must be vaccinated.

Can outside entities hosting events at OU require masks or ask about vaccination status?
If an event is held on property owned or governed by OU, masks must be worn while indoors, regardless of affiliation with the university. Those hosting events on OU property should not ask attendees about their vaccination status.


Can students have visitors who are unvaccinated?
Visitors are encouraged to be vaccinated, but there is no vaccine mandate that applies to them. Visitors must wear a mask indoors at all times.

International Vaccine Requirement

I received a COVID-19 vaccine in another country that is not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or WHO (World Health Organization). Should I be re-vaccinated when I get to the U.S.?
If the vaccine you received is not authorized by WHO by the time you arrive, Oakland University will offer you an FDA-authorized vaccine. You do not need to be revaccinated prior to arriving at Oakland University, however, guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends you receive a FDA approved vaccine after you arrive in the USA when available. Appointments will be available through OU’s Graham Health Center and can be self scheduled via the patient portal.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are currently accepted by Oakland University:
WHO approved: AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm, Sinovac.
FDA approved: Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Moderna
Full FDA Approved: Pfizer (Comirnaty)

I was unable to get vaccinated before coming to Oakland University. Can I be vaccinated when I arrive?
If you are in the U.S., vaccine appointments are available. You can find a vaccine near you by visiting: vaccinefinder.org. Please work to get a vaccine before coming to Oakland. If this is not possible, please contact the Dean of Students office to request a temporary vaccine exemption until you are able to be immunized. Please send an email: deanofstudents@oakland.edu to make your request. Additionally, please notify the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) and coordinate an appointment at Graham Health Center before you arrive so that you can be vaccinated immediately. Students must be vaccinated or have an approved exemption to attend face-to-face classes. If the criteria are not met, students will not be allowed to attend face-to-face classes.

I received one dose of a two-dose vaccine in another country. Can I get my second dose at OU?
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are the only vaccines available for distribution in the U.S. Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) is a single dose vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna are both a two dose series. If your first dose was Pfizer or Moderna, you will be able to complete the series. It is imperative you have a copy of the record of your first dose. If you received a vaccine that is, or is not WHO approved, you may be offered one of the FDA approved vaccines. Please log into the secure patient portal at Graham Health Center to send a secure message explaining your situation. Health Center staff will provide recommendations based on your unique situation. All students traveling to the U.S. are advised to get whatever vaccine is available in order to travel with some protection from COVID-19. Please contact Graham Health Center for individual recommendations.

If I have not been vaccinated, where can I get information on vaccine sources available to me?
Resources for finding vaccines when arriving in the U.S. can be found here: vaccinefinder.org. Additional resources can be found on OU’s COVID-19 Campus Information web section. Links to resources are available there to help you plan your vaccine or schedule an appointment.

Will OU accept vaccines given in Russia, China or India?
Oakland University is not accepting Covaxin or Sputnik at this time. These vaccines were not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). OU will accept the WHO-approved vaccines listed above.

I want an exemption to this mandate for religious or medical reasons, how do I request this?
Students may request a medical or religious exemption through the Dean of Students Office at deanofstudents@oakland.edu or take all online classes. International Students newly arriving to the US for the first time must take at least one hybrid or face to face class and the rest can be online.

Who do I contact if I need more information?
It is important to stay updated by reading all Oakland University communication about the vaccine requirement and visit OU’s Covid-19 information page regularly for updates. If you still have questions, please email isso@oakland.edu.