Vaccine Frequently asked Questions

Illinois Executive Order 2021-22  mandates that all higher education students attending on campus activities and classes and all university personnel receive their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by September 19, 2021.

Unvaccinated higher education students attending on campus activities and all university personnel need to submit a weekly COVID-19 test result to their institution. As recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health, unvaccinated Lewis University students and employees will need to test weekly with a PCR, not a rapid antigen, test.


 ALL

Does Lewis University require students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Yes, Lewis University required COVID-19 vaccination for all students (including exchange or visiting students) and employees who will be on campus for either classes, in-person programs or activities, or in the course of employment (including the Albuquerque, Oak Brook, and Romeoville locations) for the 2021-22 academic year.

Why did Lewis University require vaccinations beginning in Fall 2021?
Lewis University is requiring COVID-19 vaccination following recommendations from its medical and public health partners. Ensuring that our community is vaccinated best allows Lewis University to resume more normal operations on campus in the Fall and support in-person classes and student activities. Lewis University’s requirement supports the public health goals of the State of Illinois to vaccinate as many people as possible. Subsequently, an Executive Order from the State of Illinois mandated vaccination for the same population with a weekly testing requirement for those that remain unvaccinated.

Which vaccines are approved to meet Lewis University’s requirement?
At this time, any vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) will satisfy Lewis University’s vaccine requirement. That includes vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Covishield.

How can I receive a vaccine?
You can visit vaccines.govwillcountyhealth.org or dph.illinois.gov to find a vaccination site near you.

Will vaccines be offered on campus?
Yes, provides periodic access to vaccinations on campus. Please monitor your Lewis email for details on when these vaccinations will take place, as well as how to register. Vaccinations are widely available in the local community.

How do I report my vaccination status?
Students, faculty and staff can report vaccination status, request an exemption, and engage with university support by reporting their COVID-19 vaccination status through the myLewis App. The tile on the App is titled, “COVID-19 Vaccination Status.”

Students, faculty and staff can also submit using the links for:

SUBMIT COVID-19 VACCINATION STATUS

Booster Status
Weekly Testing
Vaccination Status

We take your privacy seriously, and all information submitted will be kept confidential.

What is the deadline to report my vaccination status?
Students were mandated to submit vaccination records before arrival on campus for the Fall 2021 Semester.

As a Catholic, am I allowed to get the Covid-19 vaccination? What’s the Catholic Church’s position?
Yes, Catholics can receive the vaccinations. According to a statement released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in December 2020, it is morally acceptable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, given the benefit vaccinated status will have on others.


 STUDENTS

Can students seek an exemption to the vaccination requirement for religious or medical reasons?
Students can apply for an exemption to the vaccination requirement for COVID-19 vaccination specific medical or religious reasons through the myLewis App.

According to Illinois Executive Order 2021-22, unvaccinated higher education students attending on-campus activities and all university personnel need to submit a weekly COVID-19 test result to their institution. As recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health, unvaccinated Lewis University students and employees will need to test weekly with a PCR, not a rapid antigen, test.

Can students seek an exemption due to emergency-use authorization status?
No. Students can only receive an exemption to the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. These exemption requests must be directed toward credible medical contraindications or strongly held beliefs related specifically to the COVID vaccination. Those requesting exemptions should be aware of the various types of vaccines available and options for acquiring a vaccine that best meets their medical and religious needs. Philosophical or personal belief exemptions are not accepted in the State of Illinois.

What happens if students do not comply with the vaccine requirement?
Students who have not been fully vaccinated or have not received an exemption may be referred to the Student Conduct Process, restricted from class or campus, or placed on a registration hold.

Do students need to be vaccinated if they do not live in the residence halls and will commute to campus?
Yes, any student in an in-person program and students who access Lewis University’s facilities for any reason must be vaccinated.

Are students enrolled in online-only programs required to be vaccinated?
Students enrolled in online-only programs and not accessing campus for any reason are exempted from the vaccination requirement.

Do students need to be vaccinated if they have already been diagnosed with COVID-19? What happens if someone contracts COVID-19 too closely to the deadline to get vaccinated before arriving on campus?
Yes, all students are required to be vaccinated, even if they have already had COVID-19. Students are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid this situation. Students who are not able to meet the vaccination requirement due to a recent COVID diagnosis will be required to get vaccinated on campus or elsewhere as soon as they have met the appropriate window of time post-diagnosis. In order to be in compliance with reporting your vaccination status, you may submit for a temporary medical exemption until you are 10 days past testing positive, unless severely ill with the virus and more time for recovery is needed.

If a student is not able to receive an approved vaccine before arriving on campus, can they be vaccinated upon arrival?
Yes. Students needing vaccination when they arrive may access any of the local vaccination sites to begin vaccination (www.vaccines.gov/search/). If receiving a two-dose series, you would then submit that you are partially vaccinated until you have the completed doses. If you need assistance in locating a vaccination location, contact the Lewis University COVID-19 Hotline at  covidhotline@lewisu.edu.

Does the vaccine requirement apply to international students?
Yes. Students, including international students, must receive a vaccine authorized by the FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO). If you have received a partial or full course of a vaccine that is not on the WHO list, please contact the Lewis University COVID-19 Hotline Team (815-588-7000 or covidhotline@lewisu.edu) for guidance on starting an appropriate vaccine.

What if a student received a vaccine not approved by the FDA or WHO?
The CDC has stated: “People who completed or partially completed a COVID-19 vaccine series with a vaccine that is not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series.”

Can an instructor or staff member ask a student about his or her COVID-19 vaccination status?
No. Instructors and staff should not ask students if they are vaccinated or if they plan to be vaccinated. Asking about their vaccination status may prompt disclosure of disability-related information or information regarding existing health conditions relevant to the vaccination. Instructors and staff should also avoid discussing personal vaccination status during class, in emails, or in other communication to the class.

For those international students who do not get vaccinated, can they take online classes only while living in the United States?  
Current U.S. Immigration policy allows international students to take only online classes based on changes created by COVID-19. They can come to the United States and live in the United States.

In many countries, the availability of vaccines is limited. Should I get a vaccine once I arrive in the United States?  
International students, who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccinated with a WHO unapproved vaccine, should get the approved COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival to the United States. We will require students to show verification of the first shot and then show proof of the second shot after the elapsed period necessary. Until the student is fully vaccinated, they will need to follow the same safety protocols as those not vaccinated.

For international students vaccinated with a non-approved CDC vaccine? What should they do?  
Get an approved CDC COVID-19 vaccine before entering the United States or attain an approved vaccine upon arrival to the United States. In addition, follow the medical recommendation for the minimum time minimum between the non-approved CDC vaccine and the approved CDC vaccine.


 EMPLOYEES

Can Lewis University legally ask me to provide proof of immunization?
Yes. Illinois Executive Order 2021-22 states, “To establish that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Higher Education Personnel and Higher Education Students must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to the Institution of Higher Education. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination may be met by providing one of the following: (1) a CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card or photograph of the card; (2) documentation of vaccination from a health care provider or electronic health record; or (3) state immunization records.

What if I am unable to meet the vaccination requirement?
Please notify the Office of Human Resources immediately, if you are unable to meet this requirement.  You may notify HR by emailing hr@lewisu.edu or calling ext. 5270.  Someone from the Office of Human Resources will reach out to you to discuss specific accommodations for you in your work environment.  In the meantime, please continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing. You will be required to submit a weekly PCR test result as long as unvaccinated while the state Executive Order is in place.

Can I be asked why I am not vaccinated?
Yes, but this specific communication regarding vaccinations should only be had with the Office of Human Resources and not between employees or employee and supervisor.

If I am not vaccinated, will I have to wear a face mask on campus?
Initially, it is anticipated that accommodations for unvaccinated employees will include wearing a mask and social distancing.  These accommodations may change as additional health-related guidance becomes available.

Do I still have to get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?
Yes, in line with CDC recommendations, an individual should still receive the vaccination even if they have had COVID-19.

Will I have to work remotely if I do not get the vaccination?
Vaccination status is not a major factor in determining a remote/hybrid work arrangement. Similar to other accommodation requests, the Office of Human Resources will coordinate campus work arrangements for an employee who is not vaccinated, which might include additional social distancing measures for the work place.  The Office of Human Resources will work with each employee to determine the most appropriate accommodation.

If I am currently working remote/hybrid, can I continue to work this way if I choose not to get vaccinated?
Supervisors will work with employees to continue remote/hybrid format as needed. The Office of Human Resources will work with unvaccinated employees as they return to campus, to arrange for accommodations which may include continuation of masking, social distancing and the required weekly COVID-19 testing as mandated by Illinois Executive Order 2021-22.