On Dec. 21, 2021, the Board of Directors of Chapel Haven Schleifer Center voted to mandate that all staff, adults and community members receive Covid-19 vaccinations.
The Board set a deadline of Feb. 28, 2022, by which all unvaccinated individuals must have begun the process of receiving the necessary immunizations. The only exemptions will be those individuals with a recognized medical exemption supported by documentation from a doctor. Requests for medical exemptions must be reviewed and approved by CHSC on a case-by-case basis.
For those who are fully vaccinated per the CDC’s current definition (2 weeks from last shot), the Board and Sr. Management strongly encourage you to receive your booster shot. If the CDC changes its definition of “fully vaccinated” to include the 3rd shot, as we anticipate it will, this 3rd shot will become mandatory for all staff, adults and community members.
The Board’s vote comes at a time when Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, due to strict Covid-19 protocols, has a vaccination rate among staff and adults of 93%. CHSC’s vaccination rate, taken as a whole, is higher than the national vaccination rate of 63%. The total number of individuals, including staff and CHSC adults, who are not vaccinated is less than 20.
The Board recognized the excellent job CHSC has done in this regard, minimizing Covid-19 infections among residential students and community members by continuing to mandate mask-wearing, social distancing, weekly testing for the unvaccinated and restrictions on who can visit campus.
However, board members expressed great concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant, calling it “a public health emergency” and citing a number of factors that led to the mandatory vaccination policy. Among those:
- The rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which has now been detected in most states and is rapidly increasing the proportion of individuals diagnosed with Covid-19.
- The susceptibility for infection among adults with disabilities and the elderly, who have more chronic health problems. Studies have shown that some people with certain disabilities are more likely to get COVID-19 and have worse outcomes. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html
- The recognition that CHSC is a congregate living facility, and the fear that unvaccinated individuals are putting themselves, fellow employees and our adult population at risk
- The inability of many of our adults to properly keep their masks affixed all day long – making it harder to protect them against infection; and the recognition that our adults can’t always advocate for themselves in risky situations
The Board’s policy recognizes what the CDC has carefully documented that Covid-19 vaccines are effective and can greatly reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus. It is our hope that with this policy, our staff and adults can feel confident we are doing all we can to maintain a happy and healthy community in which to live, work, study and gather.
Please note that our on-campus protocols remain the same – we are still requiring mask wearing, social distancing and screening for visitors. Unvaccinated employees must continue to provide weekly testing until they have become fully vaccinated.
Should you have any questions…or need to apply for a medical exemption, please contact Mary Gow, Manager of Human Resources. Parents and CHSC adults with questions, may contact Einera Beauvais, Executive Vice President and RN.