COVID-19 Response and Reopening

Vaccination Requirement for Employees

Frequently Asked Questions About COCC's COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Employees

Last update: July 24, 2022

COCC is committed to advancing and improving workplace safety and health for all college employees. This commitment extends to response and mitigation efforts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thanks to extensive, peer-reviewed scientific data, we know that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at helping protect against severe disease, hospitalization, and death from the virus that causes COVID-19—including known and emerging variants currently circulating. The available vaccines are proven to be safe, and they remain our most effective tool in reducing the strain on our health care and education systems while helping to keep our employees, students, and community members safe and healthy. 

COCC has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all employees, including benefitted employees, part-time faculty, and temporary workers such as irregular wage, work study, and community education. The complete requirement is available online. COCC employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit a medical or religious exception. If an employee requests and obtains an approved medical or religious exception to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, the employee will be required to test weekly for COVID-19. 

The COCC COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all employees, implemented during the 2021-2022 academic year, will also apply to the 2022-2023 academic year.

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions by COCC employees about the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. This information will be updated regularly, and any major new requirement or implementation details will also be communicated via Headlines. If you have further questions, please email MyHR@cocc.edu

When do current COCC employees have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19?

All COCC employees (including benefitted, part-time, irregular wage/work study, and community education) will be required to submit proof of vaccination or request an exception by Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Employees should check their @cocc.edu email for a link through which to submit the required information or email COCCVax@cocc.edu for assistance.



How is the College defining a COCC employee under this vaccination requirement?

COCC employees are defined as all full-time, part-time, adjunct, and ABS faculty, as well as classified staff, administrators, irregular wage and work-study employees, and community education instructors paid via COCC payroll.



What if I was hired at COCC after the employee vaccination requirement was implemented in Spring 2022? How do I submit my information to show proof of vaccination or request an exception?

Once a new hire has completed the onboarding process, their information will be added to the Vaccination Verifier Application. They will receive an email from COCCVax@cocc.edu which will provide a link and direct them how to verify their vaccination status. Via this link, the new hire will be able to upload a photo/copy of their vaccination card or request an exemption.



How do I submit proof of my vaccination status to COCC?

COCC uses a secure, web-based vaccine verification system where employees can upload proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or request a medical or religious exception. This system was be shared via Headlines and with all employees via email. Employees should check their @cocc.edu email for a link through which to submit the required information or email COCCVax@cocc.edu for assistance.



How does the College define "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19? Are boosters required as part of this requirement?

COCC will follow the CDC's definition of "fully vaccinated." At this time, COCC will not require a booster dose as part of this requirement, but the College may change this requirement in the future. COCC strongly encourages employees to maintain recommended primary and booster vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.



Can an employee request an exception? What exceptions are available?

Yes, an unvaccinated employee will be able to request a medical or religious exception via the web-based vaccine verification system. Employees should check their @cocc.edu email for a link through which to submit the required information or email COCCVax@cocc.edu for assistance.



How will exception requests be reviewed and approved or denied?

Medical or religious exception requests will be reviewed by an internal panel in consultation with the College’s attorney. Employees will be notified of the status of their request by HR.



Do I have to test weekly if I'm unvaccinated and receive an exception?

Yes. If an employee requests and receives an approved medical or religious exception to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, the employee is required to test weekly for COVID-19. COCC will allow for the use of at-home rapid antigen tests in addition to antigen and PCR tests provided by community organizations and healthcare providers. There are no-cost COVID-19 testing sites on COCC's Bend and Redmond campuses.



What kind of COVID-19 tests are acceptable and where can I find a test?

COCC will allow for the use of at-home rapid antigen tests, as well as tests administered by health care providers and the no-cost Curative testing sites on our Bend and Redmond campuses.



Does COCC pay for the cost of my weekly COVID-19 tests?

COCC hosts Curative's no-cost COVID-19 rapid PCR testing on our Bend and Redmond campuses. Results from Curative rapid PCR tests are in 1-2 hours; appointments are strongly encouraged.

  • COCC Bend Campus - rapid PCR testing: Curative; Mon - Fri, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; in front of the COCC Coats Campus Center, 2600 NW College Way, Bend, OR 97703.
  • COCC Redmond Campus - rapid PCR testing: Curative; Thurs - Mon, 10 a.m - 5 p.m.; in the parking lot of the RTEC building, 2324 SE College Loop, Redmond, OR 97756

If employees are unable to access the no-cost COVID-19 testing on COCC's campuses, COCC will reimburse the cost of at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid antigen tests; employees must provide receipt/proof of purchase in order to be reimbursed; send receipts to COCCVax@cocc.edu



How do I share my weekly COVID-19 test results?

Those employees with an approved medical or religious exception will be required to login weekly to the online vaccine verifier system and upload the results of their COVID-19 test. Employees should check their @cocc.edu email for a link through which to submit the required information or email COCCVax@cocc.edu for assistance.



Where can I find COVID-19 vaccines in Central Oregon?

Please visit the website of your county's public health authority to find a free COVID-19 vaccination and/or booster clinic near you:

Alternatively, visit your local pharmacy: Fred Meyer, Walgreens, Safeway, Walmart, Costco, SAV-ON, Rite Aid, and Bi-Mart are all offering vaccinations and boosters to Central Oregonians. 



Will COCC pay for my time off to get vaccinated and/or to recover from any side effects?

COCC employees who are not yet fully vaccinated can use their paid sick leave to get vaccinated. Employees can also use their paid sick leave if they experience side effects from the vaccine. Adults and children may have some side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. 



Who at the College will have access to my vaccination information/status?

As with other personnel matters, only specific HR employees will have access to the vaccine verifier system and the associated employee data. Per EEOC guidance, employers must treat vaccination records as confidential medical information, maintained confidentially and stored separately from an employee's personnel file.



I will not get vaccinated but I will not request an exception and/or I will not test weekly. What are my options?

Subject to any COCC employment  agreements, policies, requirements, and/or applicable collective bargaining contracts, failure to comply with COCC's vaccine requirement may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. 



What if my medical or religious exception is denied?

Human Resources will notify you as to the outcome of your medical or religious exception request. If your request is denied, then per the requirement, you will be required to become fully vaccinated. Human Resources will work with these employees to establish reasonable timelines for obtaining such vaccinations. If you choose not to become fully vaccinated, then failure to comply with COCC's vaccine requirement may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  



Also see: COVID-19 Information for Faculty and Staff on the Employee Intranet or email COCCVax@cocc.edu with additional questions.