Fall 2021 COVID-19 Policies

Students wearing masks

Fall 2021 COVID-19 Policies

Rockhurst University will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus in August. Exemptions are available based on medical, religious or personal reasons. Every student will be required to fill out this brief form. Please read the message from University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., at the bottom of the page for more information.

Information and Reminders Regarding COVID-19

  • Those looking to find an available COVID-19 vaccine near them can search the U.S. by ZIP code here.
  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services maintains a web page with regular testing opportunities here. Kansans can find an appointment here by clicking "book a test." Other testing resources are listed on the Kansas City Health Department’s testing page for both Missouri and Kansas. Select, “Where Can I Find My Test Results?” for a listing by date and location for testing options. 
  • Those experiencing symptoms of or who have come into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should continue to fill out the Illness and Exposure Reporting Form.

FAQ

Am I required to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

All Rockhurst University students are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus, with certain exemptions (see below). This includes faculty and staff who are enrolled in University courses. Some students taking part in clinical experiences might be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination without the possibility of an exemption. For incoming students, the COVID-19 vaccine will be part of the TB and vaccination questionnaire required as part of matriculation. 

Faculty and staff who have not already received the COVID-19 vaccine are strongly encouraged to do so.

Am I eligible for an exemption from the vaccine requirement?

There are three different types of exemption from the vaccine requirement —medical, religious and personal. The exemption release and waiver is available in this form — as you fill out the form, a prompt will appear asking for your COVID-19 vaccination status. Select “No, need an exemption” to select one of the three exemption declaration options. Once you fill out the exemption declaration, there is nothing else that you need to do.  It is accepted by the University as fulfillment of the COVID vaccine requirement. Note that some students taking part in clinical experiences might be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination without the possibility of an exemption.  

My program is completely online — am I still required to get a vaccine?

No — if your program is completely online and you will never be on campus, you are not required under University policy to get a vaccine. You will still need to complete the form and declare an exemption (under the “I am exempt from vaccinations due to other reasons as documented below” option) and state that you are a “completely online student” in the reason field.

Will I need to wear a mask if I declare an exemption from vaccination?

Yes. People who are not vaccinated and declare an exemption will be required to wear masks indoors on campus and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. People who are vaccinated are welcome to wear masks if they desire. The mask requirement for non-vaccinated individuals will be evaluated on an ongoing basis using guidance from the CDC, Kansas City Health Department, and other medical resources.

Do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have also had COVID-19 in the past?

Yes, you should be vaccinated even if you've already had COVID-19. It is possible in this case — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Why is a COVID-19 vaccination being required?

COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective. Widespread vaccination among the members of our campus community is the best avenue to return to normal capacity and operations in a safe manner. We are also following the example of many of our peer institutions, who are announcing similar policies. By announcing this requirement now, we hope to provide students ample time to be fully vaccinated (up to six weeks for a two-dose vaccine) before returning to campus.

Why are students required to get the vaccine but not faculty and staff?

Because the window of eligibility has been open for longer, many faculty and staff have reported they have completed a full course of the vaccine. Many who have not yet received the vaccine have reported their intention to do so. In addition, requiring students to get the vaccine in large numbers makes possible many of the richest aspects of student life that have been curtailed because of the pandemic — including visitors to residence halls, normal capacity classroom experiences, regular dining services, and social events.

Are you requiring students to show their vaccination card?

No. Students should complete this COVID vaccination form to report their vaccination(s) to the University or declare an exemption. We ask that, in the spirit of our Jesuit core value of “cura personalis,” or care for the whole person, students and others do so honestly to protect the health of other members of the campus community.

Is everyone on campus still required to use the Campus Clear app daily?

Rockhurst strongly encourages people to use Campus Clear before arriving on campus as a best practice for monitoring personal health and for the protection of the people around you. Use of Campus Clear is especially important for anyone who is symptomatic in any way and/or has been in close contact with a COVID positive person. There may be some unique times when a green screen from Campus Clear is required to be shown before entering a building, classroom, or event on campus — and in most cases, effort will be made to share this expectation in advance.


A Message from the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J.

Rockhurst University Companions,

Community is the first word you frequently hear when someone is describing Rockhurst University. As a Jesuit Catholic University, we use the term “cura personalis” to describe this experience of community. Translated from the Latin it means care for the person. In our Jesuit enterprise of higher education, cura personalis is characterized and experienced as mutual concern for one another toward the end for which we have been created.

Our strong sense of community identifies and unifies us. This was abundantly clear, even during these past 15 months. In the midst of the virtual gatherings, we longed to be reunited in person. The pandemic has instructed, transformed and made us stronger, individually and collectively. Now, as we reconvene as a University community, we are being instructed, according to local and national public health experts, that the best way to reconvene, in solidarity, is to protect ourselves and others from the virus, and its increasing number of variants, through the COVID-19 vaccine.

Therefore, to keep our community safe, honor our collective desire to return to normal operations, and decrease the chance of an outbreak on campus, we will require all students to become vaccinated before returning to campus for the fall semester. By instituting this requirement, we are being given the opportunity to demonstrate mutual concern for one another. This concern is also demonstrated through the ability to declare one of three exemptions to the requirement: for medical, religious or personal reasons.

By announcing this requirement now, we’re ensuring that everyone will have time to complete those vaccines that require two doses and five to six weeks to become fully effective. All students are required to complete this brief form indicating you have had the vaccination, will have it before you return to campus in August or that you are declaring an exemption for one of the three reasons. You will find additional information and an FAQ above. As you make your decision to be vaccinated or request an exemption, I humbly ask that you thoughtfully consider how you wish to express and promote the descriptor of community that we use for Rockhurst University: the intentional expression of mutual concern for one another. 

A majority of our faculty and staff members reported having received the vaccine or intending to do so. Because of this as well as the acknowledgement that patterns in living and socializing are different for this group than for students, we are strongly encouraging faculty and staff to become vaccinated rather than requiring it. Just as with students, becoming vaccinated will give our community an added layer of protection against the virus.

The core value we will celebrate during the coming year is “contemplation in action.” As we prepare for our fall semester, know that I am grateful for and cherish the contribution that you make, as contemplatives in action, toward creating and building up the community we call Rockhurst University. 

I look forward to seeing you when we commence the 2021-22 academic year in August. Until then, know of my thoughts and prayers for your health and well-being; and, may Ignatius Loyola continue to intercede God’s choicest blessing upon our community and our collective work.

Be good to yourself!

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas B. Curran, S.J.
President