Important Update on Employee Vaccination Requirements

Dear Colleagues,

Congratulations! The academic year with in-person classes is off to a good start. Thank you for all that you’ve done to make this possible. 

In recent days, I, along with the leadership team, have decided to revisit a decision that we made in the spring. We now believe that it is in the best interest of the College community for COVID-19 vaccinations to be mandatory for employees. This requirement will apply to all employees who access campus at any time (with exemptions for health and religious reasons). Champlain will accept any vaccine currently authorized for use in the United States.

A few important factors have convinced us that this is the best path forward for the health and safety of our community. The Pfizer vaccine recently received the full approval of the FDA. It is no longer being used under emergency use authorization. This status means that it has gone through the most rigorous new-drug testing protocol in the world and it has been determined that the vaccine is safe. Any small risk associated with it is far outweighed by the benefits. 

The second factor has to do with our health insurance premiums. Champlain’s health insurance policy is self-funded. This means that when we have health care costs that exceed the projections of the plan, premiums can increase. It is easy to imagine a scenario where cases of COVID could result in plan increases. Since coming back to the College, I have prioritized both reinstating our retirement match as well as providing employees with a 1% salary increase while balancing the long-term financial sustainability of the College. The decision to mandate vaccines is not an easy one, however I believe it aligns with our goals in maintaining the physical and financial health of Champlain College.

The data shows that the vaccine is highly effective in preventing the spread of COVID and in reducing severe illness and hospitalization from COVID, including the Delta variant which has caused a surge in cases worldwide, primarily in unvaccinated populations. This decision also aligns with the direction of recent vaccine mandates announced by the federal and state governments. 

Current data reflects that 93% of our campus-based employees are vaccinated, and 98% of traditional undergraduate students are vaccinated. While we are encouraged by these high rates, we believe the additional step of requiring vaccination for employees will help us close the gap and help us provide the highest level of health and safety possible given the current state of the pandemic.

You will receive detailed information describing how to document your vaccination status. We will also provide information on how to seek exemption for qualifying medical or religious reasons. I am sending this preliminary communication out now so that those who are not yet vaccinated can get their initial vaccination as soon as possible. 

For complete details on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and how to schedule a vaccination appointment, please visit the Vermont Department of Health website. For questions about Champlain’s requirements, please contact the People Center at or contact  

We appreciate your commitment to Champlain’s health and safety.


Dave Finney
Interim President