Aerial photo of post with logo and text of COVID-19 Info Portal

Moe and female EMT embracing on PostCOVID-19 Vaccine Protocols

Cadets are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious waiver in order to return to post for the Fall 2021 semester. VMI’s policy is in accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia Attorney General’s 26 April 2021 opinion regarding public institutions of higher education requiring the COVID-19 vaccination for in-person attendance.

Unvaccinated cadets without an approved medical or religious exemption will not be able to attend classes for the Fall 2021 semester and should not return to post.

Fully vaccinated means that a cadet received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna more than two weeks prior to their return.

Cadets who return to post within two weeks of receiving the last dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be allowed to begin the semester but will be required to wear masks and practice safe distancing until such time that they are considered fully vaccinated.

Please upload your completed COVID vaccination card to your Medicat portal. Instructions on how to do so are below. Hundreds of cadets have already submitted proof of vaccination, which will speed up their check-in process upon their return to post.

Religious and medical exemption are also available below. The infirmary and chaplain’s offices are working together to review the completed forms.

The vaccination provides the best opportunity for VMI to return to full operations and is the best way to protect the Corps of Cadets as they live, learn, train, and eat together.

Cadets who are not fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption will continue to be required to wear masks and practice safe distancing where practicable in all indoor areas of post except for their barracks room and during all physical training. Weekly surveillance testing will be required for cadets who are not fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.

Unvaccinated cadets who are in good standing may take a semester off that will not count against the cadet’s readmission application limit. Compliance with current vaccine protocols will be required if / when the cadet is readmitted. Please contact Col. Janet Battaglia in the Registrar’s office at 540-464-7213 no later than 6 August, or before your report date if you are scheduled to report to VMI prior to the 6 August deadline, regarding a deferment request. Exceptions to the 6 August deadline may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

International cadets with questions or concerns regarding vaccine availability should contact VMI’s Office of International Programs.

For incoming new cadets, deferment option information can be found at https://www.vmi.edu/admissions-and-aid/appointed-students .

VMI will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and provide additional updates as needed. Thank you for your cooperation as we work to get back to normal in our classrooms, barracks, trainings, and other activities.

For questions that are not addressed here, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at emergencymanager@vmi.edu, or the post infirmary at infirmary@vmi.edu or 540-464-7218.

Vaccines are free, and clinics remain active in the Lexington community and across the country. The VMI community will continue to receive updates on vaccination clinics and mobile vaccine opportunities. Cadets and members of the VMI community can also receive alerts about available vaccine clinics by signing up for the Alert Rockbridge Program.

 

UPDATE: Related information for incoming matriculants regarding possible deferment is available from the Office of Admissions.

 

 

Moe and female EMT embracing on Post

A Message from Major General Wins '85:

Portrait of Maj Gen Cedric Wins '85

VMI is committed to returning to a “normal” academic year with the full range of activities for cadets including 100% in-person classes. With that in mind it is important that we ensure a healthy and safe living environment for our students, particularly in light of the close living conditions (barracks rooms, restrooms, the dining facility, etc.) which are an important part of the VMI experience. Our decision to require vaccinations for our cadets has not been taken lightly. We have reviewed all applicable guidelines and directives from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), VDH (Virginia Department of Health), and the ACHA (American College Health Association). We have received guidance from the Virginia Attorney General’s office, which states that Virginia Institutes of Higher Education “may condition in-person attendance on receipt of an approved COVID-19 vaccine” during the time of pandemic to keep their students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities safe and healthy.

Over the last year and a half, we have received countless requests to find a way to ensure that our cadets receive the full VMI experience. Vaccinations provide us with that ability while ensuring our cadets have a healthy and safe living environment. Had we not required vaccines and a large number of our students remain unvaccinated, we would have been forced to continue our COVID mitigation procedures requiring social distancing, wearing of facial coverings, return to post testing events, weekly surveillance testing and possible restricting movement off Post for the semester. We would be reduced to holding 50-60% in-person classes, be unable to schedule social activities, and other major training activities would be severely impacted. Many of our large event venue locations would have to be reverted to classroom space as we have been required to do since the start of this pandemic, and many of our non-academic scheduled activities would have to be canceled. 

With regards to the suggestion that the standard age group of our cadets is not part of the at-risk population, we are considering the impact on the entire VMI and local community who may be in one of those at-risk categories. Also, recent variants are impacting younger age groups more frequently. All the vaccines available give protection against these variants. Even those who have recovered from a COVID infection benefit from the vaccine. Studies are showing the long-term and short-term risks of vaccines are significantly less likely and less dangerous than the risks of COVID itself - risks like myocarditis, chronic fatigue, and shortness of breath. While we understand that the age group in question may be the least at risk, we ask everyone to consider who may be affected by the virus if it transferred to others.     

We ask you all for your support in this decision as we make every effort to ensure that all of our cadets have the full VMI experience. We will continue to monitor CDC, VDH, and ACHA guidance on COVID protocols and the vaccine and will adjust our policies as needed based on that guidance.

Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins '85
Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute

 

 

Portrait of Maj Gen Cedric Wins '85

 

 

Upcoming No-Cost COVID Vaccine Events:

Walmart Pharmacy at Marshall Hall

VMI has partnered with Walmart Pharmacy to offer VMI Post Mobile Vaccine Clinics during June and July to help facilitate and expedite this important process for our cadets. The events will be at the Center for Leadership and Ethics in Marshall Hall, 500 Anderson Drive. Parking for the event is available in the Marshall Hall parking lot. Please note spaces will be reserved for clinic staff.

Walmart Pharmacy will be offering the Pfizer vaccine based on availability at the time of the event. Walk-in appointments are available, but cadets are encouraged to pre-register at https://app.myirmobile.com/auth/register.

Scheduled Dates/Times:

  • Thursday, July 29th 11am to 2pm

Local Vaccine Clinics

In July 2021, clinics in Lexington are held every Tuesday at the Health Deptartment (9am-4pm) and at the Health Center every Tuesday. 

For the Health Center, please use the website to schedule appointments: Rockbridge Area Health Center https://www.rockahc.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/ 

For the Health Department, see: Central Shenandoah Health District https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/central-shenandoah/covid-19-vaccine-information/ 

For more information on local vaccination oppportunities, see:

 


VMI Infirmary Medicat Instructions

 Step 1: Register for the Medicat Portal (if not already registered)

  1. Go to https://vmi.medicatconnect.com
  2. Click Register
  3. Create your username: If you receive a message that the username is already being used, follow instructions for What if I have forgotten my Medicat portal username or password?
  4. Current cadets enter your VMI email address. Class of 2025 applicants must use the email address on file with the VMI Admissions office.
    1. If you enter a different email address, you will receive a message that the system is unable to locate your record in our database.
  5. Enter your first name, last name, birthdate.
  6. Click Submit
  7. Once you click submit, an email will be sent to the email address used in step 4 & will include a link to create your password. If you do not receive the email, please check your junkorspam folders.
    1. Password Requirements:
      1. A special character
      2. A mix of letters and numbers
      3. A mix of upper and lower case
      4. A minimum of 5 characters
  1. Go to https://vmi.medicatconnect.com
  2. Click Login 
  3. Click Forgot Password 
  4. Current cadets enter your VMI email address. Class of 2025 applicants must use the email address on file with the VMI Admissions office.
  5. If you enter a different email address, you will receive a message that the system is unable to locate your record in our database.
  6. Enter your first name, last name, birthdate.
  7. Click Submit
  8. Once you click submit, an email will be sent to the email address used in step 4 & will include a link to create your password. If you do not receive the email, please check your junk or spam folders.
  9. Password Requirements:
    1. A special character
    2. A mix of letters and numbers
    3. A mix of upper and lower case
    4. A minimum of 5 characters

 

 Step 2: Submit Your Documentation: Vaccine or Exemption

Vaccine Documentation:

  1. Login to your Medicat Portal
  2. Select Immunizations tab
  3. Click on COVID Vaccines
  4. Enter vaccine date(s)
  5. Click Submit
  6. Select Upload tab
  7. Choose Covid Vaccination Card as the type of document you are uploading
  8. Select File and choose your Covid Vaccination Card file
  9. Click Upload

Exemption Form:

  1. Download, complete, and sign your VMI COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption form: 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Form or 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Exemption Form.
  2. Take a photo or scan your completed form
  3. Login to your Medicat Portal
  4. Select Upload tab
  5. Choose Covid exemption form as the type of document you are uploading
  6. Select File and choose your Covid exemption form file
  7. Click Upload

If you have any specific questions regarding the exemption forms, please contact the VMI Infirmary.



 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is VMI requiring vaccines, especially if a cadet has already had COVID-19? VMI, like many other schools across the country and throughout Virginia, is following CDC guidance, and has a goal of getting back to normal operations. A positive antibody test can indicate a previous COVID infection, but is not a sign of prolonged immunity from COVID-19, especially as variants appear. Although young people have a low incidence of severe illness from a case of COVID-19, that could change. As of now, the vaccine is working effectively against the variants, including the Delta variant that is popping up across the country. This variant is more easily transmitted and appears to affect younger people more than the original COVID virus. The best protection against surges of these variants is vaccination.

What should I do if I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card? If you were vaccinated in Virginia, please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/immunization-record-request-form. For all other states, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/iis/contacts-locate-records.html#state.

What if I’m not considered “fully vaccinated” at the time of my arrival to post? Cadets not fully vaccinated will wear masks and participate in routine COVID-19 testing until the vaccination process is complete. VMI will assist in scheduling a second dose, if needed.

How do I submit my vaccination confirmation? A scanned copy or photo of your completed vaccine card should be submitted through the Medicat portal before your assigned report date. Instructions can be found above.  

How do I submit an exemption for the COVID-19 vaccination? Any cadets needing to submit a religious or medical exemption should use either the 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Form or the 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Exemption Form. Religious and medical exemption forms that have been altered and/or not completed fully will not be processed. Unaltered and completed forms should be uploaded to the Medicat portal for review at least two weeks prior to report date (see instructions above). Medical requests should be accompanied by a letter from a medical professional stating the reason for the exemption. Religious requests should be accompanied by a description of why sincerely held religious beliefs preclude the cadet from receiving a vaccine. A religious request is not based on philosophical, moral, or conscientious objection. Additional documentation may be requested, and an exemption form may be denied if does not meet CDC guidelines.

For cadets with authorized exemptions, what actions will they need to take through the academic year? Cadets with approved medical or religious vaccinations exemptions on file:

Are VMI faculty and staff required to get the COVID-19 vaccination? VMI faculty and staff are highly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Based on recent reporting, more than 85% of employees have been vaccinated, and that number continues to grow as additional vaccination clinics are shared with faculty and staff.

Who will have access to my vaccination record? The Institute physician and staff have access to medical records. Any medical information is only shared with others on a need-to-know basis (Commandant or coaches for training purposes, etc.).

Will masks be required anywhere on post? Unvaccinated individuals, including cadets, faculty, staff, and all visitors will continue to wear masks and practice safe distancing in all areas of VMI post. Being vaccinated both protects the individual, and is a form of public service to help protect others.

Will virtual classes be an option? No, to be most effective, all classes will be in person.

If booster shots become available, will VMI require cadets get those? VMI will review CDC guidance and determine if any booster shots will be required.

If a vaccinated cadet or employee comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, does that person need to quarantine? According to CDC guidance, if a vaccinated person comes into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, that person does not need to quarantine unless they are experiencing symptoms.

Why hasn’t the NCAA issued a vaccine mandate? The NCAA has left vaccine requirements for local communities and participating schools to decide.

What if my family is concerned about COVID-19 vaccine side effects? Studies show that the vaccines are safe and effective. Reported cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) are rare and typically not serious or long term. They have not been associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  COVID-19 infection can cause a more serious myocarditis so the vaccine is highly recommended. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines cause male or female fertility problems.

 

For additional questions or more information, contact coronavirus@vmi.edu