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URI faculty union reaches COVID-19 vaccination agreement

September 2, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The faculty union at the University of Rhode Island has reached an agreement with the school requiring all full-time faculty to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Keeping the community safe and providing the best learning environment possible is our number one goal,” Miriam Reumann, president of the URI chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said in an email Wednesday to The Boston Globe. “This agreement will protect students, staff, and faculty thereby enhancing the teaching, research, and service that are so beneficial to the entire state of Rhode Island.”

Classes at URI are scheduled to start next Wednesday.

The university in a statement Thursday said all full-time and part-time faculty are required to be vaccinated as are non-classified staff. Classified staff are being asked to voluntarily comply.

Under the agreement, all faculty must receive their final dose of a vaccine by Oct. 15. Members of the bargaining unit who are licensed health care providers have to follow Rhode Island Department of Health rules, which are slightly different. The deadline to request a medical or religious exemption is Oct. 1.

Unvaccinated faculty will be subjected to regular testing.

The state school is already requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students, with medical and religious exemptions offered.