Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

What is the student vaccination requirement for Fall 2021? 

Beginning fall semester 2021, Roanoke College is adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccines for students.  

Why has Roanoke College made this decision? 

The high infection and death rate of COVID-19, continues to present risks to Roanoke’s small and largely residential campus community.  The transmission patterns we have observed during the pandemic have shown to be related to students living in a congregant setting. This is an important factor in our decision.  

How do I get my vaccination information to the college if I am a student? 

Documentation that you have received the vaccine should be submitted via the Student Health Portal by August 2, 2021.  Vaccine hard copies can be sent by email to healthservices@roanoke.edu or you can bring a copy to the Student Health Center.  

Are faculty and staff members also required to get vaccinated? 

Roanoke College faculty and staff are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The vaccine will be mandated for employees who travel and perform critical functions. Details of required departments are being worked out now. 

How do I get my vaccination information to the college if I am a faculty or staff member? 

Human Resources will be collecting the information. Please upload a picture/copy of your vaccination card through our collection system’s secure portal.  If you prefer, you may also stop by the Human Resource offices located in College Hall between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to show your card.

I am a student, faculty or staff member and I have a medical condition where the vaccine is contra-indicated.  What can I do? 

You may request a waiver by downloading a form and bringing it to your doctor.  This form can be found at roanoke.edu/healthycampus.  Student forms should be returned to Student Health, and faculty and staff forms to Human Resources. 

I am a student, faculty or staff member and I have a religious objection to getting the vaccine.  What can I do? 

You may request a waiver by completing an online form to document your religious beliefs.  This form can be found at roanoke.edu/healthycampus.  Student requests will automatically route to Student Health, and faculty and staff requests will route to Human Resources. 

Do students who received their vaccination at the clinic at Roanoke College still have to submit evidence of their vaccination? 

Yes, students still have to submit evidence of their vaccination. The College does not have a record of students who were vaccinated. Carilion Clinic administered the vaccines and does not share the names of those who have been vaccinated.  

I have been vaccinated but have lost my card providing documentation of my shot. How can I get a record of my vaccination? 

People who have misplaced their vaccination card can request their immunization records from their state department of health. People who were vaccinated in Virginia can request their immunization records through the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS), located here. You can call VIIS at 866-375-9795 or email them at VIISHelpDesk@hp.com. A list of other states’ Immunization Information Systems can be found here. 

Are vaccinated students required to wear masks in the classroom? 

No. For the most part, vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a mask indoors. However, there will be times when all students, employees and guests are required to wear masks, such as move-in day, but most of the time vaccinated students and employees will be able to go without masks. 

If I am approved for an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, what health and safety protocols will I have to follow?  

Students who are approved for the waiver and are not vaccinated: 

  • Will be required to wear a mask in indoor setting and in outdoor setting when social distancing can’t be maintained 
  • Must participate in weekly COVID-19 testing 
  • Will be required to quarantine per CDC guidelines if exposed to COVID-19 
  • Will be placed in isolation if they have tested positive for COVID-19 

With a return to in-person classes, if a student gets COVID-19 or gets quarantined after exposure to it, will they have to miss class or will there be any kind of online option for them? 

Roanoke College is planning for an in-person semester and cannot guarantee that courses will be available online. Students who miss classes will need to coordinate with their professors to make up work or keep up with the class. Faculty will make decisions about individual classes and whether they will post recordings of lectures or class discussions online for students to access if they cannot be in class. The College will assist in quarantining or isolating students with their academic progress just as it would in other health-related circumstances.    

I am not sure how to get a vaccination.  What are my options? 

The vaccination is widely available at retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kroger and others.  You may be able to walk in for a vaccination or you may need to make an appointment.  Check store websites for their requirements.  Check with your family physician for other options in your local area. 

Will the college be having another vaccination clinic? 

No.  A majority of students are not here to receive vaccinations in time for the fall semester, and faculty and staff have abundant options in the local community to obtain the vaccine. 

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get the vaccine?  

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Why are you not testing those who have been vaccinated?  

The CDC doesn't recommend regular testing for vaccinated individuals. Testing of vaccinated individuals is recommended only if the vaccinated person is symptomatic. It's rare for someone who is vaccinated to carry the virus. 

What happens if students don’t provide proof of vaccination?  

For students who would rather defer any decision about vaccination, they should fill out a medical or religious waiver request.   

Roanoke College does not plan to offer hybrid or online courses in the coming academic year so students who are not approved for a medical or religious exemption may not attend classes if not vaccinated.   

What happens if faculty and staff don’t provide proof of vaccination?

Vaccinations are the most effective tool we have to keep our community safe. Unvaccinated faculty and staff will be required to follow supplemental protection guidelines in place for the fall semester. These are still being finalized, but may include weekly testing and the wearing of masks at all times.