Skip to Main Content

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is looking forward to safely welcoming students to campus this fall. Please review our FAQ below and continue to monitor this website as the university will continue to provide updates and additional details as guidance from the CDC and local health experts changes over time.

Are students required to be vaccinated before returning to campus for Fall 2021?

Yes, based on anticipated additional state and federal public health guidelines in the coming months as well as anticipated vaccine availability at vaccination sites across Massachusetts and throughout the country, UMass Lowell is adding the COVID-19 Vaccine to the existing list of required vaccinations for enrolled students.

All enrolled undergraduate and graduate students who wish to live or learn or conduct research on campus or access on-campus resources or property must be fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of the fall semester. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated is two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series or single-dose vaccine.

Just as with other disease vaccinations that have long been required by the university, COVID-19 vaccination documentation must be uploaded to the Student Health Services Patient Portal by Aug. 1.

Am I safe getting a COVID-19 vaccine under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

The Emergency Use Authorization designation is meant to facilitate the availability and use of vaccines during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. In the three phases of clinical trials leading up to granting EUA designation, tens of thousands of doses of vaccine are administered to evaluate safety and efficacy, and EUA authorization is only granted if safety and efficacy standards are met based on this substantial evidence, and that the benefits outweigh risks when used according to the product’s approved labeling.

It is anticipated that after six months of usage under EUA status that vaccines currently in use will apply for, and be granted, full FDA authorization. Should you choose to wait for this additional authorization to get vaccinated please be advised that during times of high submission activity to the student health portal platform, review of documentation may take up to 10 business days.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about vaccine safety.

Are you hearing from students that they want to be vaccinated?

About 5,000 members of the campus community responded to a vaccination intention survey in April 2021 and more than 85% (students – 83%, employees – nearly 90%) indicated they already planned to be fully vaccinated before the start of fall semester. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated is two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series or single-dose vaccine.

By when do I need to submit my proof of vaccination?

Please submit your proof of vaccination as soon as possible, but no later than Aug. 1 to avoid delaying your return to the residence halls, classrooms or other campus facilities. Please note that during times of high document submission volume right before a semester begins it can take up to 10 business days for vaccine documentation to be reviewed and verified.

Which COVID 19 vaccines will be accepted by UMass Lowell?

UMass Lowell will accept proof of vaccination with vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). These organizations are regularly reviewing vaccines for their development processes, safety and efficacy. We will be monitoring the approval processes throughout the summer months.

How do I add my COVID-19 vaccination data to my Student Health Services medical record?

Please follow the steps below to upload your COVID-19 vaccination data as soon as you receive the first dose, then again after you receive the second dose. You do not need to wait to complete the series of shots to enter your COVID-19 vaccine information. A photograph of your COVID-19 CDC vaccination card is acceptable for your documentation. (New Students: Please wait until you are assigned a UML email address to follow the steps below.)

1. Login to the Student Health Services Patient Portal.  

2. Select upload > choose the document you are uploading > Immunization/vaccine/tuberculosis/lab blood titers > select file > upload

3. After uploading your vaccination document, return to the portal homepage and select “immunizations” > other vaccines > enter the date for each dose of the COVID vaccine > submit

Am I still required to be vaccinated if I take all my classes online and never intend to be on the UMass Lowell’s campus?

No.

Are faculty and staff required to be vaccinated before returning to campus for Fall 2021?

While not required, all faculty and staff are strongly encouraged and recommended to get vaccinated prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Our initial survey in April 2021 indicated that nearly 90% of faculty and staff plan to be vaccinated by the fall.

Are there exemptions to the immunization requirement?

Just as with all required vaccinations, students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, subject to religious and medical reasons pursuant to state and federal law. Please email Wellness_Center@uml.edu to request documents related to the process. Please submit any exemption requests by July 15 to allow enough time for your request to be processed.

Will international students who have been vaccinated in their countries need to be re-vaccinated with a vaccine that is authorized for use in the U.S.?

We strongly encourage all eligible students to immediately seek out and receive COVID- 19 vaccines that are approved in the country where they are currently located. UML is awaiting guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and U.S. authorities on how to manage students who have received vaccines not approved for use in the U.S. We intend to facilitate the needs of these students (if any) based on this guidance and the best available science.

What happens if students can’t easily get access to vaccines where they live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can they get vaccinated when they get to UML?

Given current projections related to vaccine supply, it is our expectation that students in the United States should be able to get fully vaccinated prior to their arrival at UML in Fall 2021. Assuming the continued availability of vaccines, those students who are unable to access the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival, especially international students, should be able to get vaccinated when they arrive in Massachusetts. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated is two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series or single-dose vaccine.

I may need to wait a while before I get my vaccine. Is that okay?

Yes, you not need to get a COVID-19 vaccination immediately, you simply need to be fully vaccinated with a U.S. approved COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus. Based on anticipated additional state and federal public health guidelines, legal guidance and anticipated vaccine availability, students are only required to receive the full manufacturer-recommended dosage of a U.S. approved COVID-19 vaccine such that a student is fully vaccinated prior to returning to campus. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated is two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series or single-dose vaccine, which means you would have to get your first shot six weeks before the start of school for a two-dose series.

Please note that you must submit proof of vaccination to your student health portal sufficiently in advance of the fall semester. Documentation review and verification can take up to 10 business days.

I am eligible for a vaccination. Can I get vaccinated at UML?

In addition to numerous vaccination options across the country, including through your personal care provider, UMass Lowell continues to partner with Lowell General Hospital to provide members of the campus community with hundreds of appointments each week at LGH’s mass vaccination site at 1001 Pawtucket Blvd. in Lowell. All current and admitted students and employees are able to sign up with a university email address and will automatically be rolled into the following week if this week’s appointments are full.

Will I be able to register for classes for fall 2021 without having been vaccinated yet?

Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination, but you will be required to upload required documentation that shows proof of vaccination (or receive an exemption) before coming to campus to attend classes or live in a residence hall this fall.

Will there be a fully remote/virtual option for students who are enrolled in the fall but are not vaccinated?

Students who take all classes online are not required to be vaccinated, although in-person classes will not automatically have an online option. Undergraduate students should contact their faculty or professional advisor to review course offerings available to them through Graduate, Online & Professional Studies and should also contact the Solution Center to receive clarification on the impacts to their financial aid packages if they choose to transition from in-person classes to online classes for the fall semester.

Will a cancellation fee be charged for students who opt out of university housing because of vaccine requirements?

If you are unsure of your decision to be vaccinated for the fall semester, we strongly encourage you to not cancel housing or withdraw from the university at this time.  Please note, we expect that many, if not most, colleges and universities will have similar requirements for the fall. 

Students who willingly choose not to be vaccinated and withdraw from the university may follow the process for students petitioning to be released from the Housing Agreement. Please note that if subsequent state, federal or legal guidance or vaccine availability limits our ability to require the vaccine, students who have not been vaccinated may be required to meet additional public health expectations (such as asymptomatic testing) to maintain a safe campus community.


Will my enrollment deposit be refunded if I choose not to enroll because of vaccine requirements?

Yes, you will be issued a refund if you decline your fall admission, but again please keep in mind that many, if not most, colleges and universities will have similar vaccinations requirements for the fall.

Why only students and not faculty, staff and vendors?

All employees and contractors are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and we are encouraged that nearly 90% of faculty and staff have indicated they plan to do so by fall. The requirement of a vaccination for students is an extension of UMass Lowell’s current public health best practices that adds COVID-19 to a number of other communicable diseases that all students must be vaccinated against or have received an immunization exemption. 

Will I know if my roommate or classmates are vaccinated or have an exemption?

Any student living on campus or attending classes will be required to be vaccinated OR receive an exemption. You can be assured that your classmates and roommates have received their vaccination or an exemption through the Wellness Center.

Will masks still be required?

Throughout the pandemic UMass Lowell has closely aligned its public health rules and guidelines with federal and state guidance. Public health protocols for classrooms, labs, studios, and common spaces will be reviewed throughout the summer. Federal and state public health guidance regarding the use of masks will continue to inform UML’s policy regarding masks/face coverings, and the use of masks will continue through the summer and into the fall semester.

Will asymptomatic surveillance testing be required? Will weekly testing still be required for residents?

Asymptomatic surveillance testing will not be required for students who have received the vaccine. Students who request and are approved for an exemption will get information from our campus Wellness Center regarding expectations and guidelines to follow regarding asymptomatic surveillance testing. 

Will students who don’t get the vaccine be able to use the CRC and other on-campus resources?

Students will be required to get the vaccine or have an approved vaccine exemption in order to use the CRC and other on-campus resources. Students who receive a vaccine exemption will receive information from our campus Wellness Center regarding expectations and guidelines to follow.   

How will this impact students’ ability to gather, activities and programs?

We are planning for students to safely have the ability to gather and utilize space across campus this fall including: outdoor space, the library, social lounges, study lounges, tutoring centers and fitness centers.  We will continue to follow federal and state guidelines and guidance from local and campus health experts.  While enjoying these spaces and participating in these programs, we expect that face coverings will be required. UMass Lowell will update campus guidelines as the status of the pandemic changes in our region, state and nationally.

What is the impact of receiving an exemption?

Students who request and are approved for an exemption will get information from our campus Wellness Center regarding expectations and guidelines to follow.

If I am on co-op or have an internship off campus, will I be required to be vaccinated?

If you will not be on campus at any time, including not living on campus during your co-op or internship, you will not be required to be vaccinated by UML. You will be required to submit proof of vaccination prior to returning to on campus activities and should plan on submitting the documentation at least three weeks prior to your planned return. Please note that your place of work may have its own requirements.

Will visitors to campus have to be vaccinated?

Like all other immunizations required for students, visitors to campus will not be required to be vaccinated, but will be required to adhere to all campus, local, state and federal guidelines and the campus mitigation strategies.

What happens if I do not get my COVID-19 vaccine by the beginning of the semester?

Those who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to return to campus. Students will be required to verify proof of vaccination (or receive an exemption) before coming to campus to attend classes, participate in activities or live in a residence hall this fall. If you plan to get vaccinated, be advised that submission of documentation is the first part of the process and that review and verification components can take up to two weeks.