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.

1/13/22: The OSHA vaccine-or-test mandate has been blocked nationwide by the U.S. Supreme Court. The CMS vaccine mandate has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and is currently in effect.

1/3/22: The Head Start Interim Final Rule establishing the Head Start vaccination and masking mandate has been preliminarily enjoined in 25 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant recipients in those 25 states are not required to comply with the rule pending future developments in the litigation.

OSHA

By January 10, 2022*:

  • 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 February 9, 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 February 9th 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.
*OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance until these dates with respect to the applicable requirements, so long as an employer engages in reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the ETS.

CMS

*The CMS Rule is currently stayed in 24 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. While legal proceedings are ongoing, CAAs with CMS Sites of Care in those states may defer to OSHA’s February 9 date for all employees. CAAs with CMS Sites of Care in other states should comply with the CMS Rule’s January 4th deadline for CMS Covered Individuals, and consider whether it should use OSHA’s February 9th deadline for non-CMS covered employees.

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.