Section 1. Vaccine Requirement

Section 2. Exemptions

Section 3. Class Guidelines and General Information

The following information is for students, staff, and faculty for Spring 2022. Please check back for updates as information becomes available.

Section 1:  Vaccine Requirement            

What is the COVID-19 vaccination requirement policy?

Everyone entering CIIS campuses needs to have proof of vaccination. CIIS has joined many public and private universities around the country, including the University of California system, in adopting a vaccine requirement to protect the health of our communities. CIIS has been following CDC guidelines and attending regular SF Health Department briefings to ensure that we are taking all recommended actions to provide a safe and healthy campus environment for everyone.

What other government agency supports vaccine requirements besides health departments?

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will soon require all employers with 100 or more employees to have a  fully vaccinated workforce or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees. It absolutely impacts our university.

Why do we need a vaccine requirement for a university campus?

A vaccine requirement is our best opportunity to ensure that everyone who works and studies on campus is safe. This is especially important for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and those who live with young children and others who cannot yet be vaccinated. Additionally, we now know that the Delta variant is much more transmissible than earlier forms of the virus. We understand that this decision impacts our entire community, and we are taking that impact seriously.

If I’ve shown proof of vaccination, do I still need to wear a mask?

While wearing masks in indoor spaces is generally encouraged because the virus spreads more easily in closed indoor spaces where there is limited ventilation, it is now a personal decision to wear a mask in CIIS buildings after October 15, 2021. This policy may change in the future depending on any new threats to public health safety. The good news is that the high vaccination rate and mask requirement in California, especially the Bay Area, has paid off, with one of the lowest per capita rates of infection transmission in the nation. Your cooperation helps us maintain that health and safety record.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health ended the region’s indoor masking requirement as of October 15, 2021. CIIS will now allow in-person classes and work to be conducted without masks for vaccinated individuals. For individuals who are not vaccinated but have an approved medical or religious exemption, masks are still required indoors, along with proof of negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of entering the building.

Where is a mask still required?

You will still need to wear a mask in certain large venue public indoor spaces and on public transit. It is a good idea to carry one with you just in case you’re asked by private enterprises to wear one.

If I am enrolled in only virtual/online courses for spring semester, will I still need to be vaccinated?

Students who only enroll in virtual/online courses in the spring are not required to provide proof of vaccination. However, these students will need to declare/attest on their Self-Certification form that they do not plan to access Campus/Programs, and that if their plans change, they will submit a revised Certification in advance of any such access. If students need to access in-person support services, they will need to revise their Certification ahead of arriving on campus.

How are students required to prove they are vaccinated?

As of September 15, 2021, everyone who enters CIIS buildings, on either Mission Street or Arkansas Street, needs to show proof or have uploaded proof of vaccination. Students need to complete a simple COVID-19 Self-Certification form that is available through their student portal. Students are required to upload a copy of their vaccine card, an electronic copy of their vaccine record, or another type of documentation that confirms their vaccination. A student may be excused from vaccine requirements if they attest to a medical or religious exemption. Any medical exemption must be verified by a licensed Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). No other healthcare professional, licensed or otherwise, will be accepted.

What can I expect as I enter the CIIS buildings?

All students and employees entering campus will need to complete a short online health screening form daily, that affirms that they are fully vaccinated and are not experiencing any COVID symptoms. Here is a link to that form Health Screen Form, which we encourage you to bookmark

I just got the injection…when am I considered fully vaccinated?

For verification purposes, you are considered to be “fully vaccinated” two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

I am waiting for information about my medical exemption. What are the last possible dates for me to upload vaccine documentation?

All students must have had a completed COVID-19 vaccine, with documentation uploaded by Jan 3, 2022 (SUS/ACTCM) and Jan 14, 2022 (SPPH/SCT). Students have until then, to complete their certification with documentation of full vaccination (the second dose if they receive a two-dose vaccine).

What happens if a student who is accessing the campus does not have proof of vaccination?

If students fail to comply with these policies, they will not be permitted to be on campus.

Will I be able to register for in-person classes without proof of vaccination?

No. You will not be able to register for classes. You need to upload your vaccination proof. Here is the link.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Vaccines are available at many sites throughout the state of California and San Francisco country. The city and county of San Francisco also hosts a website that helps to get a vaccine appointment for anyone who lives, works, or learns in San Francisco. Click here to find an appointment.

If you are having trouble locating a testing site or securing a vaccine appointment, please email OperationsRequests@ciis.edu

I had problems with Med Proctor. What other way can I prove vaccination status?

If you are having trouble uploading to Med Proctor, locating a testing site, or securing a vaccine appointment, please contact Operations at email OperationsRequests@ciis.edu

We encourage all community members who have been vaccinated in California to get a California State QR code that certifies you have been vaccinated and are in the State’s database. This QR code is often asked for in various venues around San Francisco. The process is easy and fast: you simply input your name, birth date, and phone number, and if the information syncs with State of California records, they will send a QR code to your phone.  

Please visit the State of California COVID-19 website to get verified. 

This will not substitute the requirement to follow the process below to verify your status through our third-party service.

Section 2.   Exemption Policy

Can I get an exemption for health or medical reasons?

CIIS recognizes that in rare instances, individuals’ health or medical conditions may rise to level of a necessary exemption. To request an exemption for medical reasons, please use the following link:  

Exemption Form

Please note, CIIS will only process exemption applications once a semester. We do not except exceptions on a rolling basis.

Your request and supporting documentation will be reviewed by a panel chosen by CIIS leadership. If granted an exemption, you will be expected to follow alternative protocol for the health and safety of the community. This will include regular Covid-19 testing, verification of results, use of masks at all times while indoors (including rest break and bathroom facilities), use of masks while outdoors when unable to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others, and in other settings as deemed necessary by the CIIS Director of Operations.

The dates for exemption applications are as follows:

Priority Deadline: November 1, 2021, with decision to be made by 11/15.

Final Deadline:  November 17, 2021, with decision to be made by 12/8.

Your exemption status will be kept confidential and use of masks by vaccinated individuals will continue to be an accepted community norm and as designated as a requirement by the City and County of San Francisco. For mask requirement accommodation requests, please submit a separate request to HR (if you are faculty or staff) or the Office of Student Accessibility Services (if you are a student). Additional documentation will be required.

What happens if a student, staff member, or faculty who is not vaccinated refuses to wear a mask or face covering in class?

Wearing face coverings indoors is not optional for students, staff, or faculty who have approved vaccine exemptions. Individuals who do not comply will be asked to leave the campus buildings.

Who issues the medical exemption?

If a student submits a declaration for a medical exemption, they will need to upload documentation that is verified by a licensed medical doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Please send this documentation to exemptions@ciis.edu

Please note: We do not accept exemptions from any other healthcare professional than the two listed above.

Can I get a vaccine exemption for religious reasons?

If you are seeking an exemption on the basis of religion, you must provide supporting documentation for review by the CIIS Vital Task Force Exemption Committee. The University reserves the right to seek further documentation in any instance where there is significant evidence that a student has fraudulently requested the exemption.

Exemption Form

If I have a CIIS-approved medical or religious exemption, what else is required?

For students who have received an approved exemption from CIIS, the University requires mandatory mask wearing and proof of a negative COVID-19 test every week that you enter the CIIS campus buildings.

Can I get a vaccine exemption for personal reasons, other than religion or medical?

No, there is no exemption granted for personal beliefs of vaccination abstention. We hope that your practice of vaccination abstention is outdistanced by your sense of responsibility to the collective immunity and well-being of your community.

We realize this impacts people with nontraditional religious beliefs, as well as those within organized denominations. We also recognize how this is a sensitive and difficult issue for some. While we respect personal beliefs and the many ways our University honors diverse systems of knowledge, we still must make final decisions that support the overall health and safety of the community based on medical expertise and public health rulings. Please know that these decisions are not made lightly. Our sincere intent is to help our community endure these challenging times together and plan for a return to vibrant, in-person communal spaces.

What religions are supporting vaccine exemption?

We have explored this issue extensively and discovered that the religious denominations that have traditionally been granted exemptions have issued statements that they support vaccination guidelines offered by public health departments and the CDC; moreover, those denominations have urged their members to make personal choices based on safety. Many local branch churches do not have the authority to provide support for exemption; such authorization must go through the national office.

For further reading:

Christian Scientist:

https://www.christianscience.com/press-room/a-christian-science-perspective-on-vaccination-and-public-health

Jehovah’s Witness  https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/g201103/protect-your-health/#?insight%5bsearch_id%5d=d0c40694-0b06-4343-82b7-321abed5f19f%26insight%5bsearch_result_index%5d=1

Can I opt for weekly COVID-19 testing instead of vaccination?

No, not at this time.

Will CIIS accept internationally approved vaccines even if not authorized or approved in the United States?

Yes, but only if the vaccine is authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO has developed a process for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics during public health emergencies. Through that process, several vaccines not available in the United States have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL). When the final CSU Vaccination Policy is adopted, CIIS will accept proof of vaccination with any international vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by WHO, consistent with CDC and CDPH guidance.

document summarizing the status of international vaccines can be found on WHO’s website. Anyone who has completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with one of these vaccines does not need additional doses with an FDA-licensed or -authorized COVID-19 vaccine, at least initially, but may be subject to subsequent booster requirements. Those who are partially vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not licensed or authorized by FDA and by WHO will be required to receive an FDA-licensed or authorized vaccine no less than 28 days after their last international vaccination. In the interim, they could be subject to special safety measures, for instance quarantine, frequent asymptomatic testing, and masking requirements. 

Why should I get the vaccine?

  • To protect your personal health, as well as that of others, including friends, loved ones, and your campus community. Getting immunized helps prevent serious illness, even death, due to COVID-19.
  • Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and convenient at upcoming campus clinics.
  • The vaccine helps to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which would allow it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines.
  • The sooner we stop the spread of COVID-19, including the far more contagious Delta variant, the sooner we can all get back together on campus and work toward our future goals.

Can I get a vaccine on campus?

No. But free vaccinations are offered at local hospitals, clinics, drugstores, and community centers.

How do I verify that I am vaccinated?

Please submit medical verification to our third-party HIPAA and FERPA compliant tracking service called Med + Proctor. 

Please check your CIIS email address for a unique email from Med + Proctor where you can upload your documents. Please note that it takes 72 hours for your verification to appear on the site. Once verified by Med + Proctor, please request a sticker at the Mission Street campus front desk to place on your ID card. You will need to show this sticker whenever you enter campus.  

What else is CIIS doing to safeguard the health of its community?

Our vaccine requirement is accompanied by other safety protocols related to COVID-19. We have upgraded our HVAC system in order to provide substantially better air circulation. We also continue comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities, and we will abide by any regulations related to social distancing and masking.

Section 3:  Class Guidelines and General Information

As faculty, how can I bring a guest lecturer to campus?

All guests entering the CIIS buildings will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours.

Where can I get support for technology resources (computers, internet, software)?

Is the library open?

Yes, contact library@ciis.edu or visit the following site, which contains updated library information: https://librarydatebook.ciis.edu/hours.php

Will daily health screenings be required to enter the building?

Yes, you will be asked to answer a digital form at the front desk.

What happens if I am exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if I test positive for COVID-19 during the semester?

We ask that you take the necessary precautions; receive advice from your health care provider; and stay at home for the required amount of time. Please report any COVID-19 exposure on campus to the Human Resources office and Dean of Students Yunny Yip, yyip@ciis.edu.

What is CIIS doing to support mental health for our students?

The CIIS Wellness Center is dedicated to fostering a sense of wellness and mental well-being within the community. In this period of rapid change and uncertainty, students are encouraged to take part in holistic and whole-person supportive services, at no additional cost. Tuition fees include one-on-one counseling, group counseling, wellness coaching, yoga, and other activities.

You can also access an evidence-based stress management personalized service known as Neolth. Most services are accessible at both Mission Street and ACTCM campuses and available through online platforms. 

To set up an individual counseling appointment, please email counseling@ciis.edu. Once your request is received, a counselor will contact you by phone within 1-2 business days. Current students are provided a limited number of free counseling sessions through their Wellness Fee each academic year.

If you need urgent or crisis care, please call 911 or your primary care provider.

What information is provided to international students about their Spring 2022 enrollment, particularly if there are visa issues or delays?

Please contact Jody O’Connor, Associate Director of Student Affairs joconnor@ciis.edu with all international questions.

Additional questions?  For questions or concerns about this process, please email: exemptions@ciis.edu

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