Following an Executive Order from the White House requiring federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has issued guidance stating that feds must be fully vaccinated by November 22 of this year. Please be aware that the guidance states that the vaccine mandate applies to teleworking employees and employees working remotely as well.

The Association has yet to receive official notice from DoDEA management of the requirement. When we do receive such notice, we will engage in bargaining over implementation of the requirement. But be aware that DoDEA has indicated that such bargaining will not extend or delay the November 22 deadline.

Under this guidance, DoDEA, like other agencies, is to use “progressive discipline” when taking action against any employee who fails to meet the vaccine requirement. However, the guidance is clear such discipline may include removal from federal service.

The vaccine mandate allows exemptions for health reasons or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents individuals from becoming vaccinated. Employees who wish to claim such exemptions are recommended to contact the DoDEA offices handling the Reasonable Accommodation (RA) process. FEA will request that management provide educators with specifics on how to make these RA requests as soon as possible.

Employees seeking Reasonable Accommodations are advised to begin the RA process immediately, as there is uncertainty over how quickly requests for Reasonable Accommodations will be handled by DoDEA.

Be aware that the guidance also states that employees whose RA requests are denied and who do not comply with the vaccination requirement face the possibility of DoDEA pursuing “disciplinary action, up to and including removal from Federal service.” This presents a risk for any employee who does not begin the vaccination process while they are awaiting a decision about their RA request.

FEA is therefore recommending that all DoDEA employees we represent become fully vaccinated as quickly as possible in order to meet this deadline and to avoid the risk of disciplinary action being taken against you.

Because OPM’s guidance requires employees to be “fully vaccinated” by November 22, this means employees must plan for time to receive the required number of vaccinations (1 or 2, depending upon the vaccine available to you), with adequate time between multiple shots AND allow two weeks after your second shot to reach fully efficacy of the vaccination. Employees who are not fully vaccinated yet are therefore advised to begin the vaccination process right away, to accommodate this extended timeline. DoDEA is required to allow employees to use duty time to obtain COVID vaccinations. Please also be aware that the guidance states that documentary evidence of being vaccinated will be required.

FEA will provide additional information to members as it becomes available.


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