In a Nov. 19 letter to employees, Chief Operating Officer Greg Hartman announced Texas A&M will now follow President Joe Biden’s executive order to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees who are under federal contract.
Executive Order 14042 requires businesses with federal contracts signed on or after Oct. 15 to follow the guidance of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. According to the letter, the A&M System has approximately 500 federal contracts worth $2 billion, most of which are tied to the College Station campus.
“Currently, the Task Force's guidance requires any full-time or part-time employee working on or in connection with a covered federal contract, or working at a covered contractor workplace, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” Hartman’s letter reads.
Many universities across the nation have already complied with the mandate including Auburn, Louisiana Tech and Rice.
According to an Oct. 25 Texas Tribune article, the university has been in a balancing act with the federal mandate from Biden and the state mandate from Gov. Greg Abbott saying businesses and employers may not require vaccinations.
The letter revealed that prior to signing the federal contracts, A&M was working on a plan to ensure proper safety protocols such as vaccinations, masks and social distancing for the protection of staff and students.
Hartman said the university will soon email employees specific instructions following the signing of a federal contract.
“That communication also will include information about an application process for requesting an exemption, as well as additional compliance requirements if you do receive an exemption,” the letter reads.
It is not yet clear if the university will mandate vaccinations for all employees or student workers.