The University has adopted the following policy updates to minimize the risk of COVID-19 as our community returns to campus for the fall 2021 semester. All health protocols are subject to change as the pandemic continues to evolve.


Faculty and Staff Vaccination and Exemption Policy

  • The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff to get vaccinated. Our recent staff survey found that almost 90% of respondents are vaccinated (approximately 64% of staff responded to the survey).
  • Faculty and staff may confidentially submit their proof of vaccination or a completed COVID-19 Vaccine: Self-Attestation Form to Cynthia Nguyen, benefits coordinator, in Human Resources by interoffice mail or via email at nguyen@southwestern.edu. Please note that unless a confidential process to identify reasonable accommodations is requested, faculty and staff are not required to provide an explanation for why they have not received a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Faculty and staff may request an exemption based on religious or medical grounds by August 6, 2021. Please contact Elma Benavides in Human Resources at ext. 1441 or benavide@southwestern.edu for more information.

Faculty and Staff Testing

  • Faculty and staff who have not provided proof of vaccination or a completed COVID-19 Vaccine: Self-Attestation Form may be required to participate in regular asymptomatic testing and/or take precautions such as masking, distancing, and avoiding crowds that are not required of those who have submitted such records.

Contact Tracing

  • The University will continue to utilize contact tracing to identify anyone who has been directly exposed to COVID-19.

Face Masks

  • Indoors:
    • Faculty and staff who have provided proof of vaccination or submitted a COVID -19 Vaccine: Self-Attestation Form are not required to wear a face mask indoors.
    • Faculty and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask when indoors unless they are actively eating or drinking or inside their private office.
    • Faculty and staff may request students and visitors to mask in their classroom, laboratory, or office.
  • Outdoors:
    • There is no requirement for wearing a face mask on campus when outside.

Gathering Size and Occupancy Limits

  • Indoors:
    • There will be no COVID-related restrictions limiting the size of indoor gatherings. All other normal capacity restrictions (such as those imposed under the fire code) and pre-existing approval processes remain in force.
  • Outdoors:
    • There are no gathering-size limits on outdoor activities.

Travel Policy

  • Study abroad programs, faculty-led programs, and the travel components of other academic programs are being evaluated, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Affected students, faculty, and staff will be notified of all decisions.
  • There are no restrictions on faculty or staff domestic or international travel other than restrictions imposed by government entities, airlines, or other travel providers.

Reasonable Accommodations

  • In the event a faculty or staff member, including a student employed by the University, objects to any of the above measures based on religious or medical grounds, the University will offer to enter into a confidential process to examine whether any reasonable accommodations exist that would allow the individual to continue to perform their job.

Frequently Asked Questions