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FAQs for students

Updated: June 11, 2021

Why is Virginia Tech mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students?

As Virginia Tech works toward the goal of providing an in-person experience for students this fall, mandating vaccination is an important step toward easing campus restrictions and returning to in-person activities and events. It is important that the Virginia Tech community is vaccinated and it is required that everyone who is vaccinated submit proof of vaccination.


How do I let Virginia Tech know I have been vaccinated for COVID-19?

Students can upload a photo of their COVID-19 vaccination card to the Online Student Health Portal, as they do with other vaccination records.

Please select the immunization link to upload your vaccination card. Do not upload the form to COVID-19 forms. 


Is there a deadline for getting my COVID-19 vaccine information to Virginia Tech in order to attend classes in the fall?

Yes. Students must submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 6 through the Online Student Health Portal.


Are there any exemptions for mandatory vaccination for COVID-19?

Students may submit a request for either a religious or medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine.

If the administration of immunizing agents is against your religious tenets or practices, you can fill out the Religious Exemption Form.

A medical exemption can be filed by filling out the Medical Exemption Form.

Students can submit their exemption forms through the Online Student Health Portal, fax them to 540-231-6900, or mail them to Schiffert Health Center, drop them off in person.

Schiffert Mailing Address:
Schiffert Health Center
895 Washington Street, SW
Virginia Tech, McComas Hall (0140)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Filing for religious or medical exemption means that you understand that in the case of an outbreak, potential epidemic, or epidemic of a vaccine-preventable disease at Virginia Tech, the state health commissioner may order your exclusion from the university for your own protection until the emergency has passed. Students who are exempt from receiving the vaccine for medical or religious reasons will be subject to regular testing for COVID-19.

Students 18 and over can submit religious exemptions if they were previously immunized or vaccinated as a minor. If a student submits a religious exemption at this point, they will not be able to receive future immunizations or vaccines from Schiffert Health Center.


Does my religious exemption form have to be notarized in Virginia?

No, the form may be notarized in any state.


Does the university believe it has the authority to require that all students be vaccinated?

Our decision is aligned with the Virginia Attorney General’s opinion that was issued last month indicating that universities in Virginia can mandate the vaccine for students as a condition of in-person learning. This is essential to protect the health of our community as we return to a full fall semester with in-person classes, student activities, and experiential learning.


If I am not vaccinated for COVID-19, what will happen to me?

Any student who has incomplete immunization records after the Aug. 6 deadline will be notified and will have 14 days to comply. Any student who is noncompliant after the 14-day grace period will receive interim suspension, which can only be lifted once the student has complied. Residential students will be unable to move into the residence halls without compliance.


I lost my COVID-19 vaccine card. What should I do?

If you were vaccinated in Virginia, you can request a copy of your record from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) using the Immunization Request Form. If you were vaccinated in another state, you can find the contact information for your state’s Immunization Information System here.


Who do I talk to if I have questions about registering my COVID-19 vaccine information?

Students should contact Schiffert Health Center at 540-231-6444.


Which COVID-19 vaccines is Virginia Tech accepting?

Virginia Tech is currently accepting vaccines that are authorized in the United States by the FDA, which includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines, or those authorized by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford and Sinopharm). Click to see a list of acceptable vaccines.


Will I be able to register for classes for fall 2021 without having been vaccinated yet?

Class registration is open and any student can register. Any student who has incomplete immunization records after the Aug. 6, 2021 deadline will be notified and will have 14 days to comply. A hold may be placed on the student account at this time, as well, which will mean they will not be able to access course materials and they will not be able to attend class. Any student who is noncompliant after the 14-day grace period will receive interim suspension, which can only be lifted once the student has complied.


I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to show proof of vaccination for attendance?

Any student with a positive COVID-19 result in the last 90 days (from May 17 forward) will need to do the following:

  • Submit proof of positive PCR COVID-19 test result or letter from VDH or other physician indicating positive result to the Online Student Health Portal under the COVID+ option
  • We will not accept a positive anti-body result as proof of positive COVID-19 
  • Once the student is 90 days past positive COVID-19 result they will have 30 days to complete the COVID-19 vaccination requirement

All students who have not had COVID-19 in the previous 90 days are required to upload proof of vaccination to the Online Student Health Portal.


Will Virginia Tech require a booster for the COVID vaccine?

It is too early to know if a booster will be available and if it will be required or encouraged. We will share new and updated information as we receive it.


What if I cannot be vaccinated?

As we start the fall semester, we expect anyone who has not been vaccinated to continue to wear a mask and follow the physical-distancing recommendations to protect the community from potential exposure to COVID-19.


Why are there different dates for submitting the other vaccines than for submitting the COVID vaccine?

The COVID vaccine may require two doses and we are allowing as much time as possible for students to be able to receive their vaccines and upload their information.


If I am a graduate student who is studying 100-percent online can I apply for an exception for the vaccine?

Yes. You may request an exemption from vaccination if your graduate program of study is 100 percent remote and you do not plan to visit Virginia Tech campuses or facilities during the course of the semester.  


 Will staff and faculty be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, too?

Staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. All staff and faculty will be required to register their vaccination status. Employees who register their vaccine information will be exempt from required COVID-19 surveillance testing during the 2021-22 academic year. The need and frequency of testing for unvaccinated employees will be determined based on the risk an individual’s position presents to the community. Information about the testing program is forthcoming. Please note that a testing exemption may be reversed or altered should the pandemic conditions change and additional actions are required to manage outbreaks or other conditions or if the Virginia Department of Health requires vaccinations. 


If I am not vaccinated, can I participate in events and student activities?

Following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health, unvaccinated students should wear masks indoors and practice physical distancing protocols. Students who have been exempted from being vaccinated will be in the testing program. Students who test negative, social distance and wear masks can participate in activities.


FAQs for international students

I am an international student or I am traveling abroad and I do not have access to a vaccine that is authorized by the FDA or WHO. Do I still need to be vaccinated by the Aug. 6 deadline?

If you do not have access to one of the approved vaccines, you must submit the International Vaccination Compliance Form by the Aug. 6 deadline. This will prevent a “hold” from being placed on your student account. Once you arrive in the US, you will need to schedule an appointment with Schiffert Health Center or another provider (New River Health District clinics or CDC Vaccine Finder) to receive a COVID vaccine and any other required immunizations (e.g., Tetanus, MMR, Hepatitis B, Meningitis) as soon as possible before classes start. 


Does it matter which of the approved vaccines I receive?

Any of the FDA and WHO authorized vaccines are acceptable. 

 


If I am an international student who is supposed to live on campus, will I be allowed to move in before getting vaccinated?

For international students who complete the International Vaccination Compliance Form indicating they do not have access to an approved vaccine, we will make accommodations for them to move in so they can get an approved vaccine once they are here. Currently, following CDC and VDH guidelines, all students who have not been vaccinated should wear a face covering and physically distance in any indoor public spaces. Students will be tested regularly until they are fully vaccinated. 


Is it safe for me to receive a second vaccine if I have already received a vaccine that is not authorized by the FDA or WHO?

Contact Schiffert at 540-231-6444 if you have health questions about receiving two different vaccines.