By Shoshanah Marcus, Editor in Chief
As the upcoming Fall 2021 semester approaches, Yeshiva University clarified the requirement for getting the COVID-19 vaccine upon students return to campus. On July 12, 2021, students were notified via email from Joe Bednarsh, Associate Dean of Students, of the proof of vaccination upload system.
Joe Bednarsh explained in the email that the proof of vaccination will be required to be uploaded to student’s YU Banner account, and, once approved, “the appropriate YU administrators will have real-time access to it.” Bednarsh elaborated that “this system is intended to provide a more robust level of security for your documents than sending it in an email.” The email included instructions on how to upload the relevant vaccination documents and resources containing helpful information for international students under the ‘International Students’ heading. Additionally, those who have questions regarding the specific requirements for the vaccine can visit the university’s COVID-19 vaccination FAQ page.
In response to the state’s success of administering the COVID-19 vaccine and Governor Cuomo lifting COVID-19 restrictions, Dr. Chaim Nissel, Vice Provost of Student Affairs announced in an email sent to the YU community less than a month ago that Yeshiva University’s COVID-19 protocols would be revised. These revisions included fully vaccinated individuals not being required to wear masks or social distance and lifted restrictions for the summer term.
Though Yeshiva University officially has announced that all students, faculty and staff must be vaccinated upon returning to campus, those with a valid medical or religious reason that would warrant exemption from vaccination can undergo a formal process as described in another email from Bednarsh to the YU community on July 15, 2021. Bednarsh described, “To request an exemption to the requirement, please email VaccineExemptionRequest@yu.edu from your YU.edu address and ask for either the medical or religious exemption form. Once a fully completed request is received, it will be reviewed by the committee. The committee may ask for additional supporting documentation, a meeting to discuss your request, or may arrive at a determination without the need for more information.” In addressing how long this process may take, Bednarsh explained, “We expect that the process could take as long as two weeks to complete depending on the volume of requests.”
In the email sent on July 15, 2021, Bednarsh urged students to not only get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure that they can be fully vaccination when the school year begins, but to also upload their proof of vaccine as soon as possible because the administration “expect[s] that it will take longer to approve documents as we get close to the start of classes and the volume of submissions is higher.” Bednarsh concluded, saying, “If you have any questions about this policy, please email VaccineSubmission@yu.edu [from your YU.edu email address] with the particulars of your situation and we will try to work with you to come up with a solution.”
Dr. Nissel commented on this decision, sharing with the YU Observer that “YU’s decision to require all students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated for Covid-19 (unless specifically exempted) is consistent with hundreds of other colleges and will help keep the YU community safe.”