Response to Iowa Vaccine Passport Prohibition

May 21, 2021

Dear Grinnellians,    

Yesterday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed New Iowa Code Chapter 27B – a “vaccine passport” prohibition – into law. I write to you to clarify the implications of this bill for Grinnell College.  

Our understanding of this law, following consultation with legal counsel, is that it seeks to protect the health information privacy of Iowans during this pandemic. Grinnell College will fully comply with the law; the College will not require anyone to carry vaccine passports.  

In accordance with Grinnell College's sustained commitment to community health and health information privacy, and consistent with New Iowa Code Chapter 27B, we will maintain the vaccination requirement for enrolled students, and we will not require public disclosure of COVID vaccination status. Students will need to agree to all vaccination requirements before being invited to Grinnell.

Grinnell adheres to the strict privacy law of FERPA (the HIPAA equivalent for education), which means that, as with other vaccine requirements, vaccination status including medical and religious exemptions are held confidentially in the student’s medical record at Student Health and Wellness.   

The state law also does not impact our voluntary, anonymous reporting of vaccination for faculty and staff. To support the needs of our community, we will continue to offer vaccination clinics and will arrange for vaccines for any faculty, staff, and student who is seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.   

Planning continues for our community’s return to campus this fall. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do, to safeguard community health and well-being.

With gratitude and optimism,

Anne F. Harris

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