NOTE: The testing requirements in this memo are superceded by the September 16, 2022 memo, Updates to COVID-19 testing requirements for institution and facility staff.
This memorandum clarifies expectations and requirements outlined in the August 23, 2021 memorandum titled, “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing for Institution Staff.” For the purposes of this memorandum, staff refers to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Service (CCHCS) civil service employees, registry providers, and contract workers.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements
Pursuant to the August 19, 2021 public health order (Order) issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), staff who are regularly assigned to provide health care or health care services to inmates, prisoners, or detainees shall show evidence of full-vaccination against COVID-19 by October 14, 2021, unless they qualify for an accommodation based on religious beliefs or due to qualifying medical reason(s).
The Order applies to the following:
- All areas/institutions specified in the August 23, 2021 memorandum.
- All five-day-a-week posts and regular day-off posts specified in the August 23, 2021 memorandum.
- All staff who are regularly-assigned to work in the locations listed in the August 23, 2021 memorandum, as identified by the Hiring Authority.
In order to meet the October 14, 2021 deadline:
- Staff opting for Pfizer or Moderna’s two-dose vaccine shall obtain their first-dose by September 23, 2021 and receive their second-dose within required clinical timeframes. Note: Staff opting for the Moderna vaccine will receive their second-dose past the October 14, 2021 CDPH deadline. These staff will not be subject to progressive discipline, unless they miss the due date for their second-dose.
- Staff opting for a single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine shall obtain their full-dose by October 14, 2021.
Staff who have not obtained their first-dose or full-dose by the dates specified above shall continue reporting to work, wear an N95 mask at all times in the workplace, and obtain testing twice-weekly until they are fully vaccinated.
Staff may obtain COVID-19 vaccination from CDCR/CCHCS vaccine clinics. The master schedule for all CDCR/CCHCS vaccination clinics is available on the Intranet, with clinics open since September 16, 2021. No appointment is necessary in any of these clinics. Alternatively, staff opting to obtain vaccination outside CDCR/CCHCS may select another clinic listed on the website myturn.ca.gov and follow the process for submitting proof of vaccination outlined in the May 19, 2021 memorandum.
CDCR/CCHCS COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Form
Hiring Authorities shall determine all CDCR/CCHCS civil service employees, registry providers, and contract workers who are regularly assigned to work in all the locations listed in the August 23, 2021 memorandum. All staff subject to the Order, as determined by the Hiring Authority, shall complete the CDCR/CCHCS COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Form. Completed forms shall be submitted to the Hiring Authority via the staff’s direct supervisor, Watch Office, or Nurse Scheduling Office, whichever is applicable, by October 7, 2021.
The CDCR/CCHCS COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Form requires employees to read, understand and acknowledge the CDPH vaccination requirement and occupational risk of COVID-19 exposure, and to declare, under penalty of perjury, their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Religious and Reasonable Accomodations
Staff for whom the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements apply and who opt out of the vaccination on the basis of their sincerely-held religious belief or due to qualifying medical reason(s) shall immediately submit a request for a religious or reasonable accommodation. The Department shall engage in the interactive process with staff to ensure a timely and appropriate determination of religious or reasonable accommodation.
Staff with a sincerely-held religious belief shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Equal Employment Opportunity coordinator. Religious accommodation requests require a written statement, via the CDCR Form 2273, Request for Religious Accommodation, indicating the individual’s sincerely-held religious belief that precludes them from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine.
Staff with a medical, mental health, or developmental disability shall immediately contact their supervisor and local Return-to-Work coordinator. Reasonable accommodation requests require a CDCR Form 855, Request for Reasonable Accommodation and a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the accommodation (but the statement shall not describe the underlying health condition or disability) and the probable duration of an individual’s inability to receive any COVID-19 vaccine (or if the duration is unknown or permanent, so indicate).
Staff with a pending or approved request for a religious or reasonable accommodation shall continue reporting to work, wear an N95 mask at all times in the workplace, and obtain testing twice-weekly in lieu of full-vaccination. No disciplinary action shall be issued to staff with a pending accommodation request, unless the request is denied and staff refuses to comply with the Order.
Accommodation Requests from Registry Providers and Contract Workers
The process for submitting and processing religious accommodation requests from registry providers and contract workers are the same as civil service employees, as outlined above. Medical accommodation requests from registry providers and contract workers shall be addressed according to the terms of the underlying contract between CDCR/CCHCS and the contractor.
Non-Compliance with Vaccination Requirements
Staff who do not comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and are not seeking/have not received a religious or reasonable accommodation shall continue reporting to work, wear an N95 mask at all times in the workplace, and obtain testing twice-weekly, until they comply with the CDPH requirement. At no time shall management remove staff from their assigned posts/work areas solely for declining COVID-19 vaccination.
Civil service employees may, on their own accord and in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, elect to post and bid to other available vacant posts, or pursue transfer to other locations/institutions, which are not subject to the Order. Vacant posts exclude management posts, and transfer requests shall be pursuant to existing transfer processes and requirements.
On and after October 15, 2021, non-compliant staff who are not seeking/have not received a religious or reasonable accommodation will be evaluated, and if appropriate, may be subject to corrective action in accordance with DOM Section 33030.8, Causes for Corrective Action. Subsequent refusals to comply may result in disciplinary action in accordance with DOM Section 33030.9, Causes for Adverse Action. Hiring Authorities shall consult their assigned Employee Relations Officer (ERO)/Health Care Employee Relations Officer (HCERO) regarding the progressive discipline process.
Non-Compliance from Registry Providers and Contract Workers
On and after October 15, 2021, non-compliant registry providers and contract workers who are not seeking/have not received a religious or reasonable accommodation shall be pulled by the vendor from their CDCR/CCHCS assignments.
All instances of staff non-compliance with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and applicable testing, face coverings and physical distancing requirements in the workplace shall be tracked and recorded for reporting purposes. Using information provided by supervisors, managers, and Hiring Authorities, ERO/HCEROs are responsible for recording instances of non-compliance in the existing Non-Compliance Tracking SharePoint site.
- For religious accommodation-related questions, contact the local Equal Employment Opportunity coordinator.
- For reasonable accommodation-related questions, contact the local Return-to-Work coordinator.
- For non-compliance and progressive discipline-related questions, contact the assigned local ERO/HCERO.
- For COVID-19 vaccination questions, and any other COVID-19-related questions, contact the Employee Health Program.