Interim Policy

Policy 02:27:00

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

Purpose:

Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. These vaccines are not experimental and are based on science that's been around for decades. The vaccines went through all the required stages of clinical trials and have met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. Millions of people in the United States have already received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in US history. Platt College is committed to protecting our students and communities from COVID-19.

Being young and otherwise healthy doesn’t guarantee any natural immunity against COVID-19. Even if you don’t develop any symptoms from COVID-19, you can still pass it along to people who are older or at higher risk, including friends and family members. Hospitals are also seeing more young adults admitted with COVID-19 as more contagious variants spread. To protect those who are most vulnerable, we must rely on the vast majority of the population to get vaccinated, even those who may otherwise be young and healthy.

There are short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury. Some people get reactions such as a headache, chills, fatigue or muscle pain, or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving vaccines.

Revision Responsibility: Dean of Nursing

Responsible Executive Office: Dean of Nursing

Updated: November 2, 2021

Rationale:

Platt College wants to ensure the safety of nursing students in the academic and clinical setting and to ensure the safety of patients they may care for in any setting.  Vaccination against COVID-19 is an evidence-based standard of care for prevention of, and where applicable, to decrease severity of illness. Health care workers have an ethical and professional obligation to ensure care delivered to others is safe. Vaccination against COVID-19 also helps protect the individual who is vaccinated and others they may be in contact with.

-All three vaccines in the US have undergone rigorous efficacy studies, safety evaluation, and ongoing monitoring (CDC, 2021).

-August 3, 2021 Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approves a vaccine requirement for staff in health care settings with high-risk patients.  This mandate covers health care facilities listed in CRS25-1.5-103(1). These include a majority of different types of health care facilities.

-August 23, 2021 – the Pfizer vaccine received full Food and Drug Administration approval.

-During October 2021, the Federal government began working on rules to be released requiring vaccinations for all workers in most health care settings that participate in  Medicare and Medicaid programs. -The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure every worker is fully vaccinated and/or face weekly testing.

Policy:

As a college of nursing in which students must complete part of their program requirements in clinical settings, Platt College requires that all enrolled students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Students may be vaccinated at a vaccination clinic or by a healthcare provider of their choice and receive any of the COVID-19 vaccinations currently available.

Students are required to submit proof of being fully vaccinated through the Complio system for clinical experiences. Students are required to be fully vaccinated prior to their first clinical experience in quarter 2.

It is possible in the near future that Platt College's clinical placement sites may also require booster vaccinations for students completing clinical externships at their sites.

Who is required to be vaccinated?

All nursing students, full-time nursing faculty, and adjunct nursing faculty who could be assigned to a clinical setting are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson series).  Non-nursing faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated, but are highly encouraged to do so.

Students will submit verification by uploading their vaccine information through COMPLIO. Students may be requested to provide additional documentation  if necessary for a clinical site.  If boosters are recommended students and faculty assigned at a healthcare facility will be required to obtain booster vaccinations.

Nursing faculty will submit copies of their vaccination cards and updates on booster vaccines for COVID-19 to the Platt College – Executive Administrative Assistant for tracking. Clinical faculty must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to the Clinical Coordinator. It is recommended that non-nursing faculty and college staff obtain full vaccination status. Platt College does collect COVID-19 vaccine data on a voluntary basis from staff and non-nursing faculty to evaluate campus safety.

who sets the vaccination requirements pertaining to COVID-19?

Vaccination requirements for Platt College students are guided by science. Each clinical partner agency sets its own requirements for affiliated learners (i.e. students). At this time, all major clinical entities with whom Platt College has a clinical affiliation agreements have mandated such individuals are fully vaccinated.

Do I qualify for an exemption?

The only exemption for students is a clearly documented medical reason with sound evidence provided by a professional healthcare provider. Exemptions are not automatically approved. Personal reasons for not getting vaccinated do not qualify for an exemption.

In accordance with Platt College's program approval from the Colorado Board of Nursing, students are required to complete 840 hours of clinical experiences which cannot be solely completed through simulation; thus in order to complete the program students must meet the vaccination requirements as set forth by the College and clinical sites.

What is the process for a Medical Exemption?

A student with a medical condition that would place the student at risk for an adverse health outcome from receiving the COVID -19 vaccination may submit a request for a medical exemption to the Associate Dean in writing. A medical accommodation would be considered for a medical condition that would be a definite contraindication for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The request must be accompanied by a dated and signed letter from the student’s medical provider detailing the medical justification.  Requests without supporting medical documentation will not be considered.

Requests for a medical exemption will be evaluated by a review committee consisting of the President, Dean of Nursing, and the Associate Dean of Nursing.  The student will be notified by the Associate Dean by email if the medical exemption is granted. Medical exemptions will be reconsidered each quarter by the Platt review team.

Students are also requested to inform the Associate Dean in writing when they no longer need an exemption status for the COVID-19 vaccine. Supporting documentation from the student’s medical provider may be requested.

Platt College cannot guarantee clinical placements for unvaccinated students or be certain that the student will meet requirements for academic progression if clinical opportunities are not available for unvaccinated students.

Are religious accommodations considered?

Religious accommodations are not currently allowed for nursing students for the COVID-19 vaccination. Alternative clinical assignments are not applicable for religious accommodations.

what if I don't want to get the vaccination?

Students who choose not to be immunized will not be able to complete classes on campus and clinical experiences.

If I qualify for ADA Accommodations, do I need to be vaccinated?

There may be medical conditions that are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and amendments allowing students and employees in some instances to request reasonable accommodations. Please contact the ADA Coordinator for further information.

Is Platt College's vaccine requirement legal?

Yes. Platt College is legally permitted to take steps to protect the health of its students and communities in the clinical sites where students will actively participate.

is collecting vaccine information HIPPA compliant?

Yes, all information submitted by students is uploaded by the student into Complio and is reviewed by College staff on an as-need-to-know basis and the clinical educators in various clinical settings.

Do I need a vaccine if I've had covid-19 and have antibodies?

Yes, you need to get a vaccine, even if you already had COVID-19. Vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19, and studies show vaccines appear to be more effective against variants than acquired immunity. With the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated.

if i am vaccinated do I still need to wear a mask on campus?

Yes. Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, face coverings are currently required for everyone indoors on campus and in clinical settings regardless of vaccination status.

Why must students comply with clinical partner mandates?

The Clinical Affiliation Agreements between Platt College and our partner agencies determine the relationships between nursing students and the entities and detail the terms under which each site will provide on-site educational experiences. These agreements account for regulatory requirements, accreditation expectations, and other guidelines, and the sites have been approved as meeting specific educational and clinical regulations. These agreements include provisions requiring students to adhere to agency policies relevant to their clinical experiences.

do any clinical placement sites not require the vaccination?

Every major hospital or clinical agency with whom Platt College has a contract and in which we have placed students for clinical rotations this quarter has mandated the vaccine for employees and students.

Are there alternative clinical assignments for unvaccinated students?

While nursing education programs are mandated by Boards of Nursing as well as other accreditors to provide clinical experiences; they are not obligated to provide alternative clinical experiences based on a student’s request or vaccine preference (Clinical Experiences for Unvaccinated Nursing Students).

In some instances, it may be possible for Platt College to arrange a short-term clinical experience that will permit an unvaccinated student. It is by exception, not obligatory, and is at the discretion of our healthcare partnership site(s).

Platt College has specific restrictions under the Colorado Board of Nursing regarding the maximum amount of simulation that can be offered in a nursing education program for simulation, thus, simulation can not be used to fully replace off-site clinical experiences for students. Further, simulation is an adjunct to clinical experiences and course curriculum, not a complete replacement. AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) has taken the position that simulation cannot substitute for all direct care experiences in any one sphere or with any one age group, emphasizing the value of in-person direct clinical experiences (AACN, 2021).

Participation in clinical experiences where students engage in care experiences with real individuals or groups continue to be the most important component of experiential education for nursing students. State Boards of Nursing stipulate exact requirements regarding the number of clinical hours to achieve completion of a nursing program. They further define limits for the maximum number of hours that can be substituted with simulation.

Students who refuse to obtain full COVID-19 vaccination have limited options to obtain requisite clinical experience and accept the risk of not being able to advance in their course progression. The unvaccinated student may be prohibited from registering for a NSG course or will be required to withdraw from a nursing course with a clinical component.

I work in a hospital non-vaccinated, why is that not considered?

Employees and students do not have the same requirements at clinical agencies. Our clinical partners have made it clear that they are not willing to accept more risk to their patients by adding non-vaccinated individuals on their healthcare teams.