Since the COVID-19 pandemic first impacted our community in March 2020, Chestnut Hill College has committed to four guiding principles in decisions related to living and learning on campus: 1) the expertise of scientists and medical experts, 2) the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), 3) the health and safety of our community, 4) and a care for our dear neighbors that grows from our mission of inclusion. In this spirit, and in keeping with decisions to date, the College required COVID vaccines for all faculty, staff, and students beginning in Fall 2021. This included (and continues to include) both full and part-time faculty and staff, as well as students enrolled in all three schools (School of Undergraduate Studies, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Graduate Studies). This policy is in effect until further notice and will be updated as needed to continue to reflect emerging science and recommendations from local and federal health officials.
There will be limited exemptions for medical and religious reasons (described in detail below). In addition to the personal and communal health benefits, we believe the reception of the vaccine is an act of mercy and an act of charity for the dear neighbor. Vaccines not only protect the individual against contracting or being significantly ill from COVID, they also protect the community against spread. Requiring the vaccine will allow us to return to the experience our students expect at Chestnut Hill College; one that is hands on, personalized, and characterized by a highly engaged curricular and co-curricular experience.
Please read this document, including the FAQs at the end, carefully. It contains important details regarding the Chestnut Hill College COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
Reporting Vaccination Status
Proof of vaccination or request for exemption must be uploaded to myCHC. Faculty, staff, and students will see a COVID Vaccine Verification link on the left nav (or the red and white arrow on the bottom of a mobile device) upon logging into myCHC.
Spring 2022 Expectations
Please note these are subject to change based upon evolving guidance from the CDC and PDPH.
All members of the CHC community must be fully masked when indoors on campus. All members of our community are encouraged to wear a well fitted N95 or KN95 mask while indoors on campus. As an alternative, people may consider double masking with a surgical mask and a cloth mask. Masks must cover both the nose and the mouth.
Occupancy limits and social distancing guidelines have been lifted.
Fully vaccinated students will not be required to participate in weekly surveillance testing, unless guidance from the NCAA requires this for student-athletes.
Fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine or participate in contact tracing due to a possible exposure.
Spring 2022 Updates
Beginning in Spring 2022, the College will be requiring all members of our community to get a booster shot. Members who have previously approved medical or religious exemptions are exempt from this policy. For those eligible to receive their booster, proof of booster vaccination will be required by March 1, 2022. The CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster 2 months after the single dose J&J shot, 5 months after the second in the two dose Pfizer vaccine series, or 6 months Moderna after the second in the two-dose series. Those who are not yet eligible for a booster will have a 30-day grace period from eligible date to upload proof of a booster. Please log onto myCHC, click on COVID Vaccine Verification, and select COVID Booster #1 from the drop down menu.
New Employee and Student Provision
All new employees and students are required to comply with the vaccination requirements outlined in this policy as soon as practical and as a condition of employment/enrollment at Chestnut Hill College. Potential candidates for employment/enrollment will be notified of the requirements of this policy prior to starting at the College.
Chestnut Hill Vaccination FAQs
Why is Chestnut Hill implementing a vaccination policy?
- We are implementing this policy because we are confident in the scientific evidence to date that widespread vaccination is safe and effective to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including spread by the more highly infectious variants of virus such as the alpha and the new delta strains. The addition of the booster is essential given the current rampant spread of the Omicron variant. Our mission of a, “transformative holistic education, just relationships, innovative thinking and responsible action toward a more unified society and sustainable Earth,” is best delivered through personalized, in-person opportunities. These educational offerings are safer for all members when there are high rates of community vaccination. With the exception of our students who choose fully online programs, we know that our faculty, staff, and students value a Chestnut Hill experience that can be found through in-person learning and gathering safely with peers, and we look forward to offering that this fall.
How do the vaccine requirements align with Pennsylvania health guidelines?
- In April 2021, Governor Wolf issued a statement urging college students to be vaccinated with the goal of providing more in-person learning opportunities. Every decision we have made at Chestnut Hill has been guided by science. Our vaccine policy is in alignment with CDC, FDA, and American College Health Association guidelines. Additionally, on December 16, 2021, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, issued a letter to colleges and universities in Philadelphia strongly encouraging them to require the booster as part of their vaccine policies.
How do members of the Chestnut Hill community provide proof of vaccination?
- Proof of vaccination, including booster shots, can be uploaded by myCHC. Upon logging in, employees and students will see a COVID Vaccine Verification link on the left nav (or by clicking the red and white arrow on the bottom of a mobile device). Proof of vaccination can be uploaded as a .jpg, .jpeg, .png, or .pdf file.
Which vaccines are accepted?
- Any FDA-approved vaccine, including the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) vaccines below, as well as any that receive full biologics license approval in the future:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)
International students who have received a vaccine approved in their home country should provide this documentation for assessment on a case-by-case basis.
When is a person considered fully vaccinated?
- COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the CDC, it typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, or 2 weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
Are other vaccines required for students?
- Yes, other vaccines are required for students to enroll at Chestnut Hill. They include:
- Two M.M.R. vaccines
- Hepatitis B vaccines
- Tetanus vaccine (within the past 10 years)
- Meningitis vaccine
How do I request a medical or religious exemption?
- Individuals who meet the criteria for a medical or religious exemption will be required to submit the COVID-19 Vaccination Waiver Request, appended to this policy, and available on myCHC. This Waiver Request provides full details on the documentation required to request a vaccine exemption. Those who are granted vaccine exemption will be provided detailed testing, contact tracing, and quarantine requirements. Un-vaccinated individuals will be required to wear face coverings while indoors.
What should I do if I'm vaccinated but others in my household are not?
- We know there are cases where members of the same household may not all be vaccinated due to those with young children who cannot be vaccinated yet or those with medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated. Currently, the CDC notes that we are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data shows that vaccines help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19. If you are vaccinated, but others in your household are not, please use your discretion to continue wearing a mask when on campus.
Will Chestnut Hill offer vaccination opportuniies for those still needing a vaccine?
- Chestnut Hill College is currently in the process of investigating on campus vaccine opportunities; this information will be forthcoming and updated as needed. Vaccinations are offered by many health providers and are widely available at CVS, Rite Aid, and other retail pharmacies. VaccineFinder is a helpful resource to find your most convenient vaccine location.
Will Chestnut Hill offer COVID-19 booster shots if they become necessary?
- The poicy was changed in January 2022 to refecta new booster vaccine requirement.
Will I have to isolate if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Yes, those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate in line with CDC guidance.
Will I have to quarantine if in close contact to someone who tests positive if I am fully vaccinated?
- Consistent with current CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual will not need to quarantine. They will be required to monitor for symptoms and to be diligent about masking.
How will Chestnut Hill ensure the privacy of students, faculty, and staff who qualify for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccination policy?
- Chestnut Hill will not disseminate vaccine status information. In addition, the process to determine whether a person qualifies for a medical or religious exemption shall be confidential.
How will this policy affect campus visitors?
- Chestnut Hill will not require short-term visitors - including prospective students and families, speakers, and event attendees - to provide proof of full vaccination. All visitors will be notified of Chestnut Hill’s vaccination policy which reinforces that those individuals who are not fully vaccinated must follow CDC and PDPH guidance for unvaccinated individuals: which includes wearing a mask and social distancing. The exception to this assertion is any event at which food is being served. Beginning on January 3, 2022, Philadelphia implemented a vaccine mandate for indoor dining. Proof of vaccination or an approved exemption will be required for outside guests at any indoor event that serves food.