Policy will make COVID-19 vaccination requirement permanent


Three new University policies are currently open for comment by the Pitt community, including one making a temporary vaccine policy permanent and another about drone usage that’s been in the works since at least 2018.

Links to all three draft policies can be found here. A Pitt sign-on is required to view and comment on the policies.

Vaccination policy

In October 2021, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher first announced that Pitt was developing an interim vaccination enforcement policy that would require all members of the University community on all campuses to be either vaccinated against COVID-19 or granted an approved exemption by the beginning of the spring 2022 semester.

The interim policy eventually led Pitt to terminate nine staff members who did not comply.

The new policy will require the initial vaccine series against COVID-19 for faculty, staff and students and require other vaccines for students, which has long been the case.

In addition, the policy says the University “strongly encourages every faculty member, staff member, postdoctoral fellow, and student to remain up to date with the vaccinations appropriate to their position at the University. In the event that the University determines that additional measures are necessary to control a virus or disease on its campuses, an individual’s failure to disclose that they are up to date could impact that individual’s access privileges.”

Employees: The permanent policy now open for comment spells out that all full-time, part-time and temporary employees and postdoctoral fellows must submit proof of immunization against COVID-19. The policy only requires the primary vaccination series of either the two-shot or one-shot regimens of an FDA- or WHO-approved drug.

The policy also lists a series of other vaccinations that are required for employees who engage in University activities where exposure to human blood and/or other potentially infectious materials is possible.

Students: The policy requires all undergraduate, graduate and professional students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, along with measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, unless they are enrolled solely in online programs.

Any student who plans to live in University housing also must show proof of being vaccinated against meningitis.

Find the full draft policy here. The policy is open for comment until Dec. 5.

Drone policy

This policy applies to the operation of drones on behalf of the University, as well as uses of drones on property that is leased or owned by the University. It does not apply to drone operations by Pitt Police or other first responder operations.

Pitt has been working on a drone policy since at least 2018. Many Federal Aviation Administration rules already cover drone flights and Pitt has made clear in the draft policy that, “Drones may be flown for commercial, hobby or recreational, or educational purposes, provided flights strictly follow current FAA guidance for each purpose.”

University-directed drone flights are authorized for certain specific reasons outlined in the draft policy, but the Office of Trade Compliance must receive notification of all drone flights scheduled to occur on University property prior to the flight with as much notice as possible, but not less than 24 hours prior to the flight.

Recreational flyers are strongly advised to read and follow current FAA guidance. The policy notes that all University campuses include geographical, structural and population characteristics that conflict with FAA recreational safety guidelines, and must be avoided.

The policy also includes some rules specific to Pitt:

  • Drones may not be used inside any University-owned or leased building. Exceptions must be requested through the Office of Trade Compliance website. 

  • Drones may not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as offices, classrooms, labs and more

  • Drones may not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personally identifiable information, which may be found, for example, on an individual's workspaces, computer or other electronic displays.

Find the full policy here. The policy is open for comment until Nov. 28.

University Network policy

This policy provides details on Pitt IT’s role and the rules regarding the use of PittNet — the University’s data network, which is the entire system of physical cabling, network switches, connections to other networks, supporting equipment, leased network circuits and bandwidth, cloud-based services, and other resources that provide network access to University computing resources through wired ports and Wi-Fi connections.

Some of the things spelled out in the draft policy include:

  • Pitt IT has the authority to develop standards, protocols, and guidelines for the use of PittNet and a mission to consult with the University community in their development and implementation.

  • PittNet is designed to provide network coverage to all areas of the University community where it is needed. Individual users are permitted to connect personal computing equipment to PittNet via wired or wireless connections, as well as network-aware devices.

  • Pitt IT is solely responsible for the design, construction, and implementation of PittNet and its components. Individuals and departments are not permitted to install or enter third party contracts to install Network Cable, or any Infrastructure Device(s) to PittNet without prior approval.

Find the full policy here. The policy is open for comment until Nov. 28.

After any changes are made to these draft policies, they will go through shared governance for approval before heading to the chancellor.

Contact policy@pitt.edu with any questions.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 724-244-4042.


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