• Art Jahnke

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Art Janke

    Art Jahnke began his career at the Real Paper, a Boston area alternative weekly. He has worked as a writer and editor at Boston Magazine, web editorial director at CXO Media, and executive editor in Marketing & Communications at Boston University, where his work was honored with many awards. Profile

  • Doug Most

    Associate Vice President, Executive Editor, Editorial Department Twitter Profile

    Doug Most is a lifelong journalist and author whose career has spanned newspapers and magazines up and down the East Coast, with stops in Washington, D.C., South Carolina, New Jersey, and Boston. He was named Journalist of the Year while at The Record in Bergen County, N.J., for his coverage of a tragic story about two teens charged with killing their newborn. After a stint at Boston Magazine, he worked for more than a decade at the Boston Globe in various roles, including magazine editor and deputy managing editor/special projects. His 2014 nonfiction book, The Race Underground, tells the story of the birth of subways in America and was made into a PBS/American Experience documentary. He has a BA in political communication from George Washington University. Profile

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There are 11 comments on BU to Require All Employees to Disclose Vaccination Status or Plan

  1. I appreciate the administrations attempts to avoid mandating vaccination for employees, and I wish similar efforts had been taken for students. However, I still find this new mandate alarming.

    Boston-area COVID numbers have plummeted, voluntary vaccination levels are high, and the state has removed restrictions. This vaccine mandate is based upon the *fear* of a renewed outbreak in the fall, and basically sets the precedent that any personal or medical information can be demanded on the basis of fear.

    There is no discussion, public analysis, or substantiated explanation. The emergency has waned … there is no reason that these measures cannot be evaluated in a more deliberative and public manner in an academic setting.

    1. If I had to guess, I would think the reason for the mandate is that when the University surveyed faculty and staff (anonymously) as to status, only 40% of faculty and staff reported that they were vaccinated. That’s well below the state average. I don’t want to go back to work on campus with that rate. Mandating reporting will let the University know whether that number is just because of underreporting. I for one hope we do mandate vaccination for faculty and staff, just like we did for students.

      1. @Jen … I’m curious about your comment. What concerns you about returning to campus (even were it with a 40% vaccination rate)?

        If you are vaccinated (as more or less everyone has had the opportunity to do so far), then you should be protected. If you choose to be unvaccinated, then you are making the risk/benefit analysis for yourself.

        At any rate, I am aware of no evidence that vaccinated individuals are any less likely to spread COVID than asymptomatic unvaccinated individuals.

        1. Many employees care for young children (who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine) or elderly family, aren’t able to get the vaccine due to health reasons, or interact with someone who isn’t able to get the vaccine. There’s no confirmation that vaccinated people aren’t able to spread COVID to these people.

          Someone else’s choice not to be vaccinated shouldn’t put my child at risk.

  2. “……and will be used only “to help us make BU community health decisions,” Brown wrote in his letter.”

    If so, shouldn’t all this have been done prior to the haphazard (and as of 6.1.21) completely unknown substantive plans for campus re-population that just keeps getting pushed up earlier and earlier via blast e-mail?

    Maybe the President should send out a mandatory survey that asks BU employees how much the changed and pushed up timelines are costing its campus recalled employees in unexpected expenses and stress over the summer? I appreciate the 2% for July but that’s not going to cover expenses that many were not planning for June/July/half of Aug for care/transport/parking, etc. Saying this, I don’t want to sound callous to our colleagues that have been on campus incurring expenses this entire time, I just want to bring up that many are facing sudden and unexpected expenses for the next few months. I do know that people have been on campus for the entire pandemic and I truly appreciate what they have sacrificed to keep the lights on, these staff and faculty colleagues came in when we were in the most dire circumstances. In fact, they should be surveyed as well to see what their unexpected expenses were when having to come into the University over the past year as I am sure many had to resort to new ways of commuting or even finding new types of care when childcare was shutdown/at reduced capacity.

    I’d also like to know how the essential staff that remained on campus feel on if they have been treated fairly or not for the past year and a half. I feel that those of us that were able to work from home since last year its been a mixed bag which took a turn for the worst over the past month with a lack of foresight, care and frankly respect to a good chunk of the BU working population. I think it would behoove the University to remember it’s the staff and faculty that made the communal sacrifice of their money, future earnings, time, mental wellbeing and in some cases jobs to make sure we came out the other end of the pandemic.

    All this being said and upon reflection of the past few months or so, I think my lesson learned from the pandemic is that my job shouldn’t be part of my identity. My family, friends, beliefs and hobbies are the things I should value, because its become readily apparent that my employer doesn’t truly value me. In a University (which I graduated from) I am only a line item somewhere on a vast spreadsheet, hard to community build when your employees aren’t treated with respect.

  3. Another thoughtful and insightful comment from Professor Trachtenberg about the vaccine. I think it’s important to note these are all authorized for use and not yet approved for use by the FDA, as Ari mentioned in an earlier post from a different article. Until there is that approval, it seems premature to mandate vaccinations anywhere. I hope BU doesn’t resort to that, and as Ari pointed out, the people taking the risks are those who choose not to get vaccinated, not people who are vaccinated. I think this is a very important distinction that keeps getting glossed over, including in my own department.

  4. I would like a logical explanation as to why BU insists on vaccinated staff wearing masks indoors. It makes no sense. We are protected. For those who aren’t vaccinated, frankly that’s their problem at this point. Make those folks wear the masks and leave the rest of us alone to make our own choice. BU already knows who can safely unmask: those of us who have our vaccine cards uploaded unto Healthway, and who have confirmed as such via last Friday’s survey.

  5. The vaccine mandate for students shows that BU’s leadership believes vaccines are an important safety measure to protect against coivd. The lack of a faculty/staff mandate shows that leadership values employee health and safety less than student’s well being. This isn’t surprising since students = revenue while employees = expense. However, we’re all going to gather on the same campus eventually. After everything the students sacrificed since Spring 2020, don’t they deserve better than to have faculty and staff opt out of vaccination and increase the chances of bringing covid to campus where it may exploit the 5-40% gap in coverage depending on which vaccine a student received? A densely populated campus won’t be vibrant if people are afraid of interacting because we don’t know whether those around of us have done their part to reduce the risk of covid.

    1. We return to my earlier question … what makes you think that people who are vaccinated are any different from those who are not vaccinated (with respect to spreading COVID without symptoms)?

      If anything, one could argue that vaccinated people are *more* likely to be carrying COVID but experience no symptoms than unvaccinated people (who may develop obvious symptoms from the disease).

      The benefit of COVID vaccination is to make the vaccinated person less likely to develop serious symptoms. If you are vaccinated … you are protecting yourself. If you are unvaccinated, you are accepting the risk of COVID symptoms.

      For everyone, if you are feeling sick, stay home! This has always been a good rule, and it remains so.

  6. What about testing for natural immunity. The current Science confirms natural immunity, which they are finding in a large % of the population, has good, if not better, long lasting effects against Covid and any variants.

    Why are schools like BU only looking at vaccine immunity as the gold standard of health, what about recognizing good old fashioned natural immunity.

    I know there’s no financial gain in natural immunity, but if it is truly about health, then this should be treated as a valid question.

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