Fall 2021 vaccine requirement for students

Message sent on June 1, 2021

Jeff Foster, Interim VP for College Life and Dean of Students, informs students about the College’s vaccine requirements for the Fall 2021 semester.

Dear Students,

On May 20, President Iuliano sent an email announcing the College’s requirement of all students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 unless approved by the College for an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Below you will find important details about this requirement including key dates and contact information if you have questions.

  1. Students who are already fully vaccinated: Nearly one-quarter of our students have already received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and have uploaded their vaccination card through their student Medicat Patient Portal in Medicat, the College’s HIPAA-compliant electronic medical records system in Health Services. Students who have uploaded their vaccination card have completed this process and no further action is required of you at this time. Thank you for completing.
  2. Students who are partially vaccinated: If you have one dose of Pfizer or Moderna, please upload your vaccine card to Medicat after you receive your second dose. This should be completed no later than August 1, 2021.
  3. Students planning to obtain their vaccine this summer: Please arrange to receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine this summer with your final dose at least 14 days prior to your return to campus in August. Please upload your vaccine card to Medicat no later than August 1, 2021.
  4. Students who are outside of the United States: Per recent CDC guidance, students arriving from outside of the U.S. for the Fall 2021 semester will be considered vaccinated if they have received Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, or Sinopharm vaccines and are 14 days post-final vaccine. If you do not have access to a vaccine prior to your scheduled date of arrival in August, please consult Brad Lancaster (blancast@gettysburg.edu) and call Health Services at 717-337-6970 to develop a plan for vaccination upon arrival, which may include a quarantine period.
  5. Students who have previously been exempted from other vaccines: Previously granted exemptions from other vaccines do not apply to the COVID vaccine. Students must apply for an exemption specific to the COVID vaccine.
  6. Exemptions for Medical or Religious Reasons: The College recognizes that some students may require exemption from the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. There is a process that students must follow to obtain an exemption from the vaccine. To begin the review process, students must complete the exemption form available in the Medicat patient portal. Please note that a student will be exempt from the vaccine requirement only if an exemption is sought through and approved by the College.
    • Medical exemptions: Detailed information supporting an exemption is required from a providing physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Medical exemption requests will be reviewed by Health Services, which will make a determination for each request. Please contact Health Services at 717-337-6970 if you have specific questions. Please submit your request for a medical exemption in Medicat by June 15, 2021.
    • Religious exemptions: Any student seeking religious exemption must submit a statement addressing the sincerely held belief(s) and/or specific tenet(s) of their religion that conflict with receiving the vaccine. Each exemption request will be reviewed by a small committee, including staff from the Dean of Students Office, Religious and Spiritual Life, and Health Services. Letters of support from clergy may be submitted but are not required. The committee will determine if the religious exemption should be granted. If you have any questions, please contact the Dean of Students at 717-337-6921. Please submit your request for an exemption for religious reasons in Medicat no later than June 15, 2021.
  7. Students who choose not to be vaccinated, without an exemption. Students who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID, and who are also not exempted from the vaccine by the College, may request a leave of absence for the 2021-22 year. Requests for such leave must be submitted to Academic Advising and Support Services for processing prior to August 16, 2021, or two weeks before classes begin in the Fall.

Having our student body vaccinated to the greatest extent possible will help to protect the health and safety of our community while returning to a more traditional fall semester in terms of a fully residential, in-person Gettysburg experience—both inside and outside of the classroom. I know I’ve heard from many of you, as well as others across our College community, who are excited for the promise this semester holds and to reconnect with fellow Gettysburgians in a more normal learning environment. Thank you for your support in making this a reality.

Please contact me if you have any questions.


Jeff Foster, D. Ed.
Interim Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students