Federal Contractor Safety Protocols

A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday, Nov. 7 on Executive Order 14042Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. As a result, USU's efforts to implement federal contractor safety protocols have been paused. Employees do not need to take further action at this time.

Overview of Executive Order 14042

In September 2021, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, ordering federal agencies to include safety protocols issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force in their new, renewed, and extended federal contracts.  

USU receives millions of dollars in federal contracts each year, supporting important work that fulfills our university land-grant mission of education, research, and outreach. Because of this, the executive order and associated federal contractor safety protocols apply to USU, and some employees will need to comply with the federal contractor safety protocols. 

FAQ

Why is USU complying with the executive order?

Utah State University has a long history of working with federal agencies on federal contracts. While we recognize some individuals may have objections to a vaccine protocol, complying with this executive order is necessary to fulfill our land-grant mission of education, research, and outreach. USU will work diligently to implement these federal contractor safety protocols in the least disruptive way to employees.

What actions are required by the federal contractor safety protocols?

The federal contractor safety protocols include requiring certain employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 18, 2022 and to wear a mask and practice social distancing in public indoor settings if their workplace is located in an area with a high level of community transmission.  

How will I know if the federal contractor safety protocols apply to me?

If you are working on or in connection with a federal contract, or you are working in the same workplace location as these employees, you will be contacted by the Office of Research about how to comply, either by being fully vaccinated or requesting an approved exemption. If you are fully vaccinated, you should upload your vaccine documentation into Aggie Health if you have not already done so. 

The Office of Research will reach out to principal investigators designated on federal contracts and other employees directly affected as it receives new, renewed, and extended federal contracts that require the federal contractor safety protocols.

Who will know my vaccination or exemption status? 

USU protects the privacy of employees and keeps the vaccination or exemption status of individuals confidential. Only those in Human Resources directly involved in reviewing exemption requests will know if someone has an approved exemption. Your supervisor and the Office of Research will only know that you have complied with the safety protocol.  

Will I have to wear a mask at work? 

The university will provide more information and guidance on this part of the federal contractor safety protocols in the following weeks. 

Does this order also apply to those working on federal grants? 

The executive order does not cover federal grants, only federal contracts and some cooperative agreements. 

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? 

People are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine. Vaccinations that meet the requirement include those currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) or COVID-19 vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. 

A booster shot or third dose of the vaccine is not required in the current federal contractor safety protocols. 

I am fully vaccinated. What else do I need to do? 

If you are already fully vaccinated, you are encouraged to upload your vaccine card into Aggie Health as soon as possible if you have not already done so. If it is determined the federal safety protocols apply to you, the Office of Research will contact you about any further actions you need to take.

What kind of exemptions are allowed for those who must comply, and how will those be determined?  

If it is determined you will need to comply with the federal safety protocols, you will be contacted with additional details, including how to apply for an exemption. The executive order allows for certain religious or medical exemptions. Requests for medical exemptions or exemptions based on a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance will be confidentially reviewed on a case-by-case basis by USU Human Resources and approved as appropriate under the law and existing guidelines.  

What COVID-19 vaccine documentation is accepted to comply with the federal contractor safety protocols?

USU accepts uploaded images of an employee’s personal, authentic, CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card completed with a name and date(s).  
 
If you received your COVID-19 vaccine in Utah, you can also download a personal immunization report through the Docket app. You can download your record as a PDF from the app and upload it to Aggie Health. 

If I work on federal contracts. What is the deadline for me to be fully vaccinated or request an exemption? 

Employees working on or in connection with a federal contract that has incorporated the federal contractor safety protocols must be fully vaccinated or receive an exemption by Jan. 18, 2022. This also applies to those working in the same workplace location. In order to achieve this, individuals will need to receive the single-dose vaccine or the second dose of a two-dose vaccine by Jan. 4, 2022.  

After Jan. 18, 2022, all covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption onthe first day of working on a newly awarded covered contract, and by the first day of working on an exercised option or extended or renewed contract when the federal contractor safety protocols are included in the contract.   

To ensure compliance and avoid delays in contract work, individuals who work on or in connection with federal contracts should pursue full vaccination as soon as possible and upload their vaccination documentation to Aggie Health. 

If I am not yet fully vaccinated, when do I need to be?

To meet the Jan. 18 federal deadline, you must start vaccination by these dates: 

  • Dec. 7, 2021 for Moderna (two shots, four weeks apart + two weeks to take full effect) 
  • Dec. 14, 2021 for Pfizer (two shots, three weeks apart + two weeks to take full effect) 
  • Jan. 4, 2022 for Johnson and Johnson (one shot + two weeks to take full effect) 

Where can I get vaccinated?

USU works with the Bear River Health Department to offer regular Pfizer vaccination clinics on the Logan campus, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines are offered by local health departments and pharmacies as well. Learn more on USU’s vaccine webpage. 

Do the federal contractor safety protocols apply to students?

The protocols only apply to employees, but this may include student employees working on or in connection with a federal contract, student interns (paid or unpaid), or students working in the same workplace location. Additionally, USU has a separate USU vaccination requirement for students.  

What is the timeline for implementing the required federal contractor safety standards?

The implementation timeline will differ depending upon the status of each federal contract. The executive order and safety standards apply to any new, renewed, and extended federal contracts as of Nov. 14, 2021.  

The federal contractor safety protocols require those employees working on or in connection with a federal contract, as well as those working in the same specific workplace location, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption by Jan. 18, 2022. 

As new or modified federal contracts are signed in the future, additional employees will need to comply with the federal contractor safety protocols before the contract work can begin. 

Will those affected have an option to opt-out of vaccination through weekly testing?

No, the executive order and safety standards do not allow for weekly testing to opt-out of the federal contractor vaccine protocol.  

Will employees who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or who have antibody test results confirming they have had COVID-19 still need to meet the vaccination protocols? 

All covered employees will need to either show proof of vaccine or be approved for an allowed exemption to meet the federal contractor safety protocols. Previous contraction of COVID-19 or a positive antigen test will not suffice. Employees who wish to seek an exemption for either medical or religious reasons will have an opportunity to do so if the university determines they are affected by the executive order.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommend individuals who have had a prior COVID-19 infection be vaccinated in order to ensure better protection against reinfection.  

Doesn’t requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 violate Utah law?

No, while SB2004 requires vaccination requirements by employers to include an exemption for personal belief, federal contractors are excluded from the new state law. 

Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit universities from asking whether employees are vaccinated against COVID-19? 

 No, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit employers from asking whether an individual has received a particular vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not apply to employment records, including vaccine or medical exemption records and information provided by employees. However, the university protects the confidentiality of employee vaccination records and stores them separately from personnel files. 

Is USU complying with the executive order in the same way that other universities are?

USU is complying with the executive order in a phased manner by implementing the federal contractor safety protocols contract by contract. Though this approach is more time consuming, USU will work to implement these federal contractor safety protocols in the least disruptive way to employees and the work they do for USU. 

Who should I reach out to if I have questions?

General questions about the how the Office of Research is implementing the executive order may be sent Dr. Jennifer Scucchi, director of integrity and compliance: compliance@usu.edu | 435-797-0485. 

Questions about vaccination exemptions and concerns about complying may be sent to Lisa Leishman, associate director of Human Resources: lisa.leishman@usu.edu | 435-797-5475. 

Questions about USU’s COVID-19 safety protocols should be directed to Mike George, director of support services and risk management and the chair of USU’s COVID-19 Safety Committee: mike.george@usu.edu | 435-797-0483.  

Upload Your Proof of Vaccination

If you are fully vaccinated, please upload your proof of vaccination to Aggie Health in case you are must comply with the federal contractor safety protocols.