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Federal Vaccine Mandates: Step-by-Step Compliance Guide for Community Action

This step-by-step compliance guide is intended to help the Community Action network navigate the employee vaccination mandates announced by OSHA, Head Start, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We describe the planning process your CAA should consider as you develop and update your policies to reflect the new requirements. We also provide template policies and additional resources to assist CAAs in preparing for and implementing the mandates. We will update this resource as additional guidance is issued and legal developments arise.

11/17/21 update: OSHA has suspended implementation and enforcement of the OSHA ETS pending the outcome of current litigation.

OSHA

By November 20, 2021:

  • State Plans must notify federal OSHA that they will amend their standards to be identical to or at least as effective as the OSHA ETS or show that an existing State Plan standard covering the area is at least as effective as the OSHA ETS.

By December 6, 2021:

  • Adopt a policy that either (1) mandates vaccinations for all covered individuals, or (2) gives individuals the option to get vaccinated, or remain unvaccinated, test weekly and wear face coverings. The policy should also meet the requirements described in Section 4 below.
  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee.

By January 4, 2022:

  • Pursuant to your policies, employees must be fully vaccinated or begin submitting weekly negative COVID-19 tests. Employees who have completed their vaccination series (i.e., received the second dose of a two-dose series, or received the first dose of a one-dose series) by January 4th but have not yet completed the two-week waiting period do not have to be tested, but must remain masked until they complete the waiting period.

CMS

By December 6, 2021:

  • Adopt policy mandating vaccination for all covered individuals.1
  • Determine the vaccination status of each covered individuals.
  • Covered individuals must have received their first dose of a vaccine.

By January 4, 2022:

  • Covered individuals must be fully vaccinated or, if taking a two-dose vaccine, have received their second shot.
1 Defined to include all staff, including those providing services in home or community settings, who directly provide any care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients, including employees; licensed practitioners; students, trainees, and volunteers; and individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients, under contract or other arrangement, or individuals who have the potential to come into contact with anyone who may be present at the facility, including staff and patients. This includes administrative staff, facility leadership, volunteer or other fiduciary board members, housekeeping and food services, and others.

Head Start

By November 30, 2021:

  • Require all individuals aged two or older, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, to wear a mask while indoors in a setting when Head Start services are provided and when in a vehicle owned, leased, or arranged by the Head Start program.
  • Require all unvaccinated individuals aged two or older to wear a mask while outdoors in crowded settings, or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people.

By January 31, 2022:

  • Covered individuals must be fully vaccinated, or have received the final dose of a primary vaccination series. Employees who have completed their vaccination series (i.e., received the second dose of a two-dose series, or received the first dose of a one-dose series) by January 31st but have not yet completed the two-week waiting period will be considered fully vaccinated for purposes of this deadline.

This resource is part of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Legal Training and Technical Assistance Center. It was created by CAPLAW in the performance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, Cooperative Agreement Award Number 90ET0467-03-C3. Any opinion, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.