Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Dear Regent university community:

There has been a lot of attention regarding President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 on Ensuring Adequate Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors and what it means for the university. 

Governor Reynolds recently signed into law HF902, which establishes additional statutory requirements for employee COVID-19 vaccination waivers in the State of Iowa. Governor Reynolds also announced that the State of Iowa has joined a multi-state lawsuit over the requirements of Executive Order 14042.

During its meeting on Nov. 4, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, authorized me to direct the Regent institutions to take actions I deem necessary to comply with the requirements of Federal Executive Order 14042. The Board of Regents also approved a new policy that adopts the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s broad definition of religion for the purposes of a request for accommodation or exemption from any COVID-19 employment vaccination or face-covering requirement. 

The Office of the Board of Regents, in consultation with the Regent institutions, is evaluating and preparing for the impact of each of these actions. We are also actively monitoring federal guidance related to Executive Order 14042, which continues to evolve. As part of this evaluation and planning process, I am directing the universities to make their vaccination verification and accommodation systems available to all campus employees on a voluntary basis.

Employees are entitled to receive an exemption by submitting written documentation affirming:

  • A sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice; including, a moral or ethical belief, observance, or practice that is sincerely held with the strength of a religious view.
  • That receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would be injurious to the health and well-being of the employee or an individual residing with the employee.
  • A qualifying medical condition or disability.

In accordance with the Board of Regents’ May 20 guidance, employees are strongly encouraged to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. Additional information regarding options for receiving a vaccine against COVID-19 may be accessed at the University of Iowa's coronavirus website.

Michael Richards

President, Board of Regents