Letter from Dr. Smith | Langston University

Letter from Dr. Smith

Letter from Dr. Smith

Addressing the Federal Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Dear University Community,

The collective efforts of our students, faculty, and staff to keep each other safe have proven effective as we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on all our campus locations. We have worked together in practicing healthy habits to keep our case numbers low, despite the challenges introduced by new viral variants. Langston University has successfully provided more than 200 doses of the vaccine during the Fall 2021 semester, which available data and science demonstrates is still our best defense against the virus. Federal guidance was recently released concerning COVID-19 vaccinations.

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all federal employees, contractors, and others. Langston University has numerous federal contracts such as USDA, NASA, and other entities, making our university subject to these new federal contractor requirements. The mandate applies to those who work on covered federal contracts (even working remotely), those who work in connection with covered federal contracts and those who work at the same location as employees who work on covered federal contracts or in connection with covered federal contracts. The mandate also applies in all locations in which covered federal employees work.

Following careful review by legal counsel within the Oklahoma A&M System and throughout the state, it has been determined that this vaccine mandate applies to all employees, including student employees, at Langston University. We are obligated to adhere to this federal mandate. If we do not comply, Langston University runs the risk of losing millions of dollars each year in federal funding for research, education, and extension services offered to our students and multiple communities across the state of Oklahoma.

With this in mind, all Langston University employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by no later than December 8, 2021, unless the employee is legally eligible for an exemption due to a documented medical condition or religious belief. This mandate does not include booster shots. The guidance does not provide for testing as an alternative to the vaccine requirement. Employees who have had a prior COVID-19 infection are also required by the Executive Order to be vaccinated by December 8, 2021.

How the Mandate Applies

The vaccine requirement will apply to all Langston University employees, including full-time and part-time faculty and staff. The requirement also applies to graduate and undergraduate students employed by the university. At this time the mandate does not apply to our general student population unless they are employed directly by the university. The mandate may apply to our campus partners such as Aladdin Food Services, HES Facilities Services, Follett, and ImageNet; however, guidance for enforcement is still under review by legal counsel for campus partners. The mandate does not apply to employees who perform work exclusively outside the United States.

Employees are encouraged to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible. Vaccination opportunities and corresponding locations are available through vaccinate.ok.gov. For your convenience, Langston University provides the Moderna vaccine on a weekly basis and has also arranged for a small supply of the Pfizer vaccine. Individuals are considered to be “fully vaccinated” two weeks after they have completed the vaccine series. Booster shots are not required for full vaccination and are not included in the mandate.

Showing Proof of Vaccination

We are providing notice of this mandate as soon as possible. The logistics related to the implementation of this mandate are currently in development, including the collection of vaccination data. Langston University will provide guidance in the coming weeks on how to securely authorize the submission of your proof of vaccination or submit an exemption request for medical reasons or religious beliefs. Please refrain from sharing information concerning your vaccination status, exemption request, or any related documentation at this time. Information on how to submit your proof of vaccination or exemption request will be clearly communicated in future announcements from the institution. We will continue to monitor legal and regulatory guidance and share updates as appropriate.

Questions may be directed to Cynthia Buckley, Assistant Vice President for Student and Employee Services, via email at cynthia.buckley@langston.edu or via phone at 405-466-3204. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to keep our campus community safe and comply with this federal mandate.


Kent J. Smith, Jr., Ph.D.