COVID-19Idaho GovernmentNews

BREAKING: Federal vaccine mandate “appears to apply” to university employees as guidelines and Georgia lawsuit unfold

Photo by Taylor Humby

The Idaho State Board of Education (ISBE) has voted to join a lawsuit filed in Georgia challenging President Biden’s executive vaccination order. For the time being, federal contractors, including Idaho’s four year institutions, will have to comply with the order because the lawsuit will be settled after the compliance deadline has passed.

According to the mandate, all federal contractors must receive a COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 4, 2022.

A Nov. 5 email from the university’s Human Resources department notified employees of the Board’s decision and that guidelines are still being determined.

“However, it should be noted that the executive order appears to apply to many of our employees (subject to limited exceptions for religious and medical exemptions),” the email stated.

Mike Sharp, the university’s director of media relations, told the Arbiter on Friday that more information will be released soon.

“We are still working to identify which employees may not apply to this order,” Sharp wrote in an email. “We have a few employees working in remote locations that never come to campus and we’re assessing whether they’re included.”

A Nov. 2 press release from the Board indicated that while the lawsuit is ongoing, institutions should comply with the order to ensure they don’t lose federal funds as a penalty.

“The Board also gave formal approval allowing the institutions to take actions to comply with the President’s order to protect $89 million in federal research contracts that could be at risk otherwise,” the press release stated.

The Governor’s Office and the Idaho State Board of Education are working alongside Idaho’s 4-year institutions to “determine the scope of the vaccine requirement and align with other state agencies.”

While it appears that the vaccine mandate does not apply to students, student employees do fall under the category of those affected by the order.

The Arbiter will continue to report on this topic as information is released.

Photo of the silver B statue in front of the Administration building
Photo by Taylor Humby
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