University of Alaska Southeast employees aren’t federally required to get COVID-19 vaccine yet

Photo of the UAS sign in Juneau
The main University of Alaska Southeast campus is located near Auke Bay in Juneau. (Photo by Bridget Dowd /KTOO).

Thousands of employees of the University of Alaska system are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under federal contract requirements; but currently, no University of Alaska Southeast employees fall into that category. 

Michael Ciri, UAS Vice Chancellor for Administration, coordinates the pandemic response for the Juneau-based campus.  He said it’s a moving target to figure out which university employees fall under the federal requirements. 

But UAS doesn’t have any federal contracts over $250,000 — the cutoff for when COVID-19 vaccination requirements kick in. Ciri said he doesn’t expect that to change soon. 

But on Thursday, the Biden administration rolled out different vaccine requirements covering more than 100 million workers nationwide. Ciri said it’s not yet clear what those new rules will mean for UAS employees.

There are university system employees in Juneau who will have to be vaccinated under the federal contracting guidelines. Ciri said employees of the University of Alaska Fairbanks who work at the Lena Point fisheries Facility in Juneau will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The University of Alaska Fairbanks expects more than 2,000 university employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under federal contract requirements.

The university announced Tuesday that about 750 employees directly paid with federal contract funds would fall under the vaccine mandate, but it also covers those who support them or work near them.

Spokesperson Marmian Grimes said UAF has 3,100 employees, and as of Wednesday, more than 1,300 said they are already vaccinated.  

A mix of ongoing and new UAF federal contracts totaling $300 million include the employee vaccination requirement. 

The compliance deadline is Dec. 8.

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