University of Idaho administrators are still determining whether the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate affects its employees.

The executive order, which requires all employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing, will take effect in January. According to Torrey Lawrence, provost and executive vice president at UI, the institution is trying to manage the situation carefully.

“We’re on hold for taking any action right now,” Lawrence said. “We continue to have discussions with the state — that being the governor’s office, the Attorney General’s Office, the State Board of Education and other government agencies — that are trying to work through exactly what this mandate means and who it applies to.”

Last week, the State Board of Education joined a federal lawsuit to block Biden’s executive order.

Lawrence told employees at a faculty senate meeting Tuesday night the board has not directed UI to implement the mandate. It’s not yet clear how many employees or students fall under the order.

“We frankly sidelined a number of projects with this vaccine mandate and it’s been all hands on deck trying to sort through it,” Lawrence said. “We will continue to work on that and certainly update all of the campus with developments.”

Palermo can be reached at or on Twitter @apalermotweets.

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