COVID-19 Vaccination Policy FAQs

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Our Policy

Why is Rush University requiring the COVID-19 vaccine?

Rush University is committed to protecting the health and safety of our campus and neighboring communities.

Who is included in the COVID-19 vaccination policy?

All Rush University students who are returning to campus for any reason or anticipate needing to return to campus at any point. This includes students in onsite or hybrid programs.

Students who are enrolled in entirely remote programs and who do not come to campus are not required to submit proof of vaccination but are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine.

How does this policy affect clinical rotations or experiential learning opportunities off campus?

Students must adhere to the vaccination policies of their host sites during clinical rotations or experiential learning. A Rush University exemption does not include clinical rotations taken at non-Rush organizations. Students who do not comply with vaccine requirements may be delayed or reassigned to alternative clinical rotations depending on availability.

When will the policy take effect?

The policy was approved on July 15, 2021. Beginning August 2021 students will be required to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a request for exemption.

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Exemptions

Will exemption for vaccination be granted? What is the process?
  • Medical Exemption: An exemption from this requirement for medical contraindications may be requested by providing documentation from the student’s personal health care provider justifying the exemption. It is the student’s responsibility to submit this request to Student_Health@rush.edu. Student Health will review the request and determine if the request will be granted.
  • Religious Exemption: A student may request an exemption based on a sincerely held religious belief by completing a written and signed application detailing the objection to immunization. The statement must describe the specific religious beliefs that conflict with the immunization. The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization. It is the student’s responsibility to submit this application to Student_Health@rush.edu, which will review the request and determine if the application will be granted.
  • Note: Student exemptions in the College of Health Sciences will be processed through CastleBranch.
What additional requirements will be in place for students with approved vaccination exemptions?

If an exemption is approved, the student will be required to adhere to RUSH, CDC and public health measures, including but not limited to wearing masks, social distancing, and adhering to symptom tracking and quarantine requirements.

If there is an exemption granted, will my program be altered?

Those with exemptions may be subject to reasonable changes in academic and/or campus experiences, but your academic success is a priority, and will remain so.

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Documentation

What happens if I lose my vaccination card?

You can download proof of vaccination through MyChart or any other electronic medical record. If you do not have access to your records electronically, please call your medical provider and request proof of vaccination.

When is the deadline to submit my documentation?

The first day of the academic term. However, there is a grace period. Please see the grace period information in the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy.

How will student vaccination data be used?

Vaccination data are protected. The data will be stored in a secure location and will only be accessible to administrators who are monitoring the dashboard to ensure compliance. Aggregate data will be utilized to create a dashboard for purposes of tracking and to make potential improvements to the policy.

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Getting Vaccinated

Does the University require students to receive other vaccines?

Students are also required to receive the annual flu vaccine. Full vaccine requirements can be viewed here.

Where can students receive a COVID-19 vaccination?

Unvaccinated students will be able to receive their vaccine through Rush University Medical Center; please monitor your inbox for more information.

Students can also receive a vaccine from an approved health care provider or pharmacy and upload documentation into your college’s approved screening tool. ZocDoc allows you to find available COVID-19 vaccine appointments by location.

Please email UnivCommandCtr@rush.edu if you have questions.

What vaccines will be accepted?

Vaccines approved by the FDA and WHO will be accepted.

Do I need to receive an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine before I come to campus?

Yes, all students need to be fully vaccinated or submit an exemption request by August 2021.

What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine or the first dose of a single-dose vaccine.

Please find more information on the CDC website.

What are the additional requirements/precautions for students who are not yet fully vaccinated?

In the absence of full vaccination, students may attend all campus activities, but are required to follow RUMC, state and FDA guidelines, including masking and maintaining social distance. Students are expected to adhere to these requirements without university monitoring. Failure to abide by these requirements or misrepresentation of vaccine status may result in disciplinary action.

Do students who have had COVID-19 need to be vaccinated? What are the additional requirements/precautions for them?

Yes, students who have had a previous COVID-19 diagnosis are still required to receive the vaccination. Follow CDC guidelines and/or contact your primary care provider regarding when to receive the vaccination after COVID-19 diagnosis.

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International Students

What is the process for international students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and show proof of vaccination?

International students who have not been vaccinated by an approved FDA- or WHO- approved vaccine are expected to get vaccinated as soon as possible after arrival to Chicago and completing their quarantine requirement. Until fully vaccinated, these students may participate in campus activities, but are required to follow RUMC, state and FDA guidelines including masking and maintaining social distance.

Does the vaccine requirement apply to students who are not coming to the U.S. this academic year?

No. Students who are not planning to return to Rush University’s campus are not required to receive the vaccine.

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Additional Questions

Are other universities requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19?

Yes, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 572 universities and colleges require vaccination in the U.S.

Are there other universities in Chicago requiring students be vaccinated?

Yes, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports the following universities and colleges in Chicago require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19:

  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • The University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University
  • DePaul University
  • Loyola University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Columbia College
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Is this policy likely to change over time?

As the pandemic evolves, and additional variants of the virus emerge, this policy may be altered, updated or changed to reflect these changes. Please stay updated and follow university communications.

Who can I reach out to with further questions?

Please send all inquiries related to COVID-19, the vaccine or re-entry to UnivCommandCtr@rush.edu.

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