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COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Exceptions

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

On July 15, the University of California will publish its vaccine policy requiring that all faculty, staff and students returning to university locations must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks before their return for the fall term. August 4th is the expected deadline for compliance. 

In preparation for this impending policy, we hope the following bullet points will support unvaccinated students and employees plan to obtain the vaccine. 

  • How to get the vaccine. One helpful resource can be found here 
  • Proof of vaccination. Students that are fully vaccinated can upload their vaccination record: Employees will be notified in July about uploading their proof of vaccination. 
  • Exemptions. The policy will permit a narrow range of exemptions for medical reasons, following CDC criteria. Faculty, staff. and students will also be eligible to request accommodations based on disability, religious belief, and exceptions based on personal belief, in accordance with federal and California law. Additional guidance will be made public by mid-July. 

Individuals who are not vaccinated and have an exception approved will be required to remain masked in all campus settings and submit to regular COVID testing. Those who choose not to be vaccinated and do not have an approved exemption may be subject to disciplinary action. 

The Office of the President will release more detailed guidelines, a Q&A and a toolkit for campuses and managers in mid-July. 

Submitting a Religious Exemption Request

  1. Student completes the UC Merced Student Religious Exemption Request for COVID-19 Vaccine and emails completed from to
  2. The form is reviewed by a committee comprised of:
    • Dean of Students Office (Heather French)
    • Risk Services (Cindi Zimmerman)
    • Student Affairs (Charles Nies)
  3. The form with a decision to approve or deny is sent to the student
  4. Student uploads form to Student Health Portal 

Please note that the review of Religious Exemption Request forms will begin on July 19th, 2022.

Religious Exemption Approval

If approved for a religious exemption to the COVID 19 vaccine mandate students will need to abide by the following:

  1. To help keep our Bobcat Community safe, unvaccinated individuals will be required to participate in UC Merced’s Asymptomatic Screening Program. The Asymptomatic Screening Program requires two COVID-19 screening tests every week for housing residents or once per week for all others, and the submission of a daily health questionnaire.
  2. Asymptomatic Screening Program participants will be monitored for compliance, and individuals that fail to comply are subject to discipline under student conduct policies (Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students)
  3. Face coverings, social and physical distancing, frequent hand washing, regular cleaning and disinfection