A man receives a vaccine at a University clinic

Princeton will require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccine; updates public health policies for summer and fall

Princeton University hosts a public COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Jadwin Gymnasium on May 6.

Princeton University will require that all faculty, staff, researchers, appointed visiting faculty and researchers, temporary employees, and independent contractors (i.e., individuals working alongside with or providing services to students and employees) receive and provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or World Health Organization. The requirement applies to employees and others routinely working on campus or in property occupied by the University. All employees (defined as the groups listed above) who will be on campus this fall must receive the final dose of their chosen vaccine no later than August 1, 2021.

Employees must receive a COVID-19 vaccine and provide proof of having received their final dose of the vaccine (second dose for two-dose vaccine or one dose for single dose vaccine). Employees should submit their vaccine information via the University’s VacStatus tool.

Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (i.e., an exemption) to this requirement by completing and submitting the COVID-19 Vaccine Accommodation Request form found at the VacStatus link. Individuals who are granted accommodations will be required to comply with applicable workplace restrictions, including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing indoors and participating in more frequent asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.

By July 1, 2021, all faculty, staff, researchers, appointed visiting faculty and researchers, temporary employees, and independent contractors routinely working on the Princeton campus or in property occupied by the University are required to do one of the following in VacStatus:

  • Submit their COVID-19 vaccination proof;
  • Report that they are not yet fully vaccinated, but intend to be by an upcoming date;
  • Apply for a medical or religious accommodation; or,
  • Report that they do not plan to be vaccinated, despite the University requirement.

Employees that have not received an accommodation must provide proof of having received their final dose of the vaccine (second dose for two-dose vaccine or one dose for single dose vaccine) by August 1.

Employees who are not vaccinated and do not qualify for an accommodation must consult with their manager and Human Resources or the Office of the Dean of the Faculty to determine if a period of leave or use of accrued paid time off may be applied. Working remotely is not an approved option under this policy.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions about vaccine requirements are available on the COVID Resources website.

As previously announced, all undergraduate and graduate students are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for the 2021-22 academic year.

Updated guidelines for summer

The University also has amended its policies regarding social distancing, face coverings and campus gatherings to reflect updated federal and state health guidance. For the summer, all undergraduates approved to remain on campus must continue to follow the Social Contract.

Social distancing

Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New Jersey executive orders, employees who are fully vaccinated, and whose status has been verified in VacStatus, no longer need to maintain six feet of social distance on University property, indoors or outdoors. Those who are not fully vaccinated or do not have vaccination records verified in VacStatus must continue to maintain social distancing indoors.

Employees who are vaccinated no longer need to comply with the occupancy limits posted for COVID-19 mitigation. Furniture may be replaced in common spaces and, if desired, Plexiglas and other barriers may be removed.

Employees are expected to act honestly and ethically. The University will not routinely check whether individuals who are not practicing social distancing indoors are vaccinated except in response to credible complaints. However, the University retains the right to undertake periodic compliance reviews to protect the community, and any employee found to be falsely claiming to be vaccinated will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

Face coverings

As of June 3, 2021, the University updated its face coverings policy for all students, staff, faculty and visitors. Face coverings are no longer required outdoors. However, face coverings continue to be required indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This policy will be revisited after July 1, 2021, when the University can determine the vaccination rate across campus.

Exceptions to the indoor face covering policy, such as when an employee is alone in a reserved room or a student is alone in their living space on campus, are outlined on the COVID Resources website

Gatherings, events, and meetings

As of June 3, 2021, in-person gatherings on campus for staff, faculty and students may be approved within certain limits. Gatherings of more than 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors may be held in-person if approved by the Gatherings Review Team. Gatherings of 25 or fewer people indoors and 100 or fewer outdoors do not need approval from the Gatherings Review Team. All University public health measures must be followed and the event should be scheduled through the EMS web app for reservable spaces.

For information about visitors attending gatherings on campus, consult the Visitor Policy.


Beginning July 1, 2021, employees who are routinely on campus and have not been verified as fully vaccinated in VacStatus will be required to be tested two times per week during the weeks they work on campus. Those whose VacStatus records indicate that they are fully vaccinated will continue to be tested once per week. The University will continue to require weekly testing for vaccinated individuals until the data indicate that testing vaccinated individuals is no longer needed. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated (i.e., those granted an accommodation) will be tested through the Fall semester. Testing frequency for all may change if increasing risk of virus spread is identified on campus or in our community.

Daily Symptom Check

Per current New Jersey executive orders, employees must continue to use the Daily Symptom Check before coming to campus, regardless of vaccination status.

Returning to campus prior to fall semester

Individuals who have been working remotely and are fully vaccinated, as verified in VacStatus, may wish to return to their campus workplace and should work with their manager to determine if that is allowed or encouraged. As noted in the recent letter from Lianne Sullivan-Crowley and Sanjeev Kulkarni, employees are still expected to return to work on campus by August 29, 2021.

Employees who are not currently in the asymptomatic testing program will need to be enrolled and will need to be tested once per week if they are fully vaccinated and twice per week if they are not vaccinated or do not have verified vaccination records in VacStatus. Managers will need to update the employee list in their Resumption plan to enroll their employees in the asymptomatic testing program.

Outlook for the fall

Looking toward the fall, the University continues to plan for the resumption of in-person instruction and operations. Classes are expected to be taught in person and the University anticipates concluding all remote work by Sunday, August 29. All activities will continue to follow then-prevailing public health protocols, but the expectation is that all University facilities, including administrative and research spaces, will operate at full capacity. 

The University also expects the following will be permitted by August 29:

  • Classrooms and campus spaces may resume normal occupancy.
  • Research and teaching laboratories will operate at normal occupancy.
  • Campus housing may resume normal occupancy.
  • Dining halls and cafes may open with no limits on indoor dining.
  • Off-campus, student-run eating clubs may reopen.
  • Varsity and recreational sports may resume within the parameters set by NCAA and the Ivy League.
  • In-person student activities may resume (though activities that involve singing or wind instruments may require mitigation measures).

A phased move-in will be held for undergraduate and graduate students arriving on campus for the fall semester, and some students may be required to quarantine or isolate upon their arrival. Quarantine and isolation procedures and accommodations also will be in place throughout the academic year. The University also will continue its asymptomatic testing program, with regular asymptomatic testing for employees who are not vaccinated and periodic asymptomatic testing for fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students for surveillance purposes.

All of the policies and guidelines above are subject to change based on public health measures and guidelines from the state of New Jersey.