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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Matthew Mayer scored 15 points to help sixth-ranked Baylor hold off VCU 69-61 in Thursday’s semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Freshman Kendall Brown added 14 points for the reigning national champion Bears (6-0), who had to clean up a mistake-filled first half and keep the Rams at arm’s distance throughout the second half.

Baylor led 29-27 and came out of the break with nine straight points. That included a five-point possession with Brown making two free throws after being hit on a flagrant foul by Levi Stockard III, then Mayer finding Flo Thamba with a lane-to-lane pass for a score and a three-point play.

Baylor protected that margin, though the Bears struggled to put the game away as the Rams continued to use full-court defense to keep Baylor out of rhythm.

Still, Baylor’s biggest boost came from cutting down its turnovers. The Bears committed 13 in the first half — surpassing their full-game totals in four earlier games this season — but had just five after the break.

Vince Williams scored 17 points to lead VCU (3-3), while Stockard had 13 points. The Rams shot 48% after halftime to hang around, frequently within two possessions, but they couldn’t quite overtake Baylor.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears are back at the tournament for the first time since winning it in 2016. They opened with a 75-63 win against Arizona State for their second win in a week against Pac-12 opponents. They were tested in this one, needing free throws from James Akinjo with 14.3 seconds left to keep this one in their grip. It marked Baylor’s 12th straight win dating to last year’s title run in the Indianapolis bubble.

VCU: The Rams took down a power-conference opponent in the first round, holding Syracuse to 29% shooting and forcing 16 turnovers in the 67-55 win. VCU managed to create headaches for Baylor, too, particularly in the first half. But the Rams couldn’t quite catch the Bears, getting the second-half margin to four points three times and three points once (45-42 near the 11-minute mark) but no closer in a pattern that held all the way into the final minute.

UP NEXT

Baylor: Plays Michigan State in Friday’s title game.

VCU: Faces No. 22 UConn in Friday’s third-place game.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More than HALF of US employers have or will require COVID-19 vaccine mandates, survey finds

The majority of U.S. employers are requiring their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or are planning such mandates, a new survey finds.

Advisory firm Willis Towers Watson surveyed 543 companies representing 5.2 million workers in mid-November, asking about their Covid safety policies.

About 18 percent of the companies are requiring vaccines already, according to the survey, while 32 percent will add a vaccine requirement if Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules take effect

An additional seven percent of employers plan to require vaccinations regardless of the OSHA rule. 

Only three percent of employers with vaccine mandates reported a notable increase in resignations.

The findings suggest that vaccine mandates are broadly popular with employers - despite a number of legal challenges as employers seek to bring their workers back into offices safely.

The majority of U.S. employers in a recent survey said they are already requiring or plan to require vaccines for all workers, pending an upcoming OSHA rule

The survey suggests that vaccine mandates are popular with employers despite legal challenges. Pictured: Vaccination at a pop-up clinic in Rosemead, California, November 2021

On November 4, President Biden announced a new federal vaccination policy.

All employers with 100 or more workers will be required to get those workers vaccinated against Covid or ensure that they were tested once a week.

The requirement is scheduled to take effect as an Emergency Temporary Standard under OSHA, which regulates all employers in the U.S., on January 4, 2022

Since its announcement, however, the policy has been challenged by federal, state and local politicians as well as businesses.

Lawsuits have been filed in at least 26 states by Republican attorneys general, businesses and industry groups, according to CNBC.

Some attorneys say the policy is unconstitutional, while the Biden administration argues that it is a necessary pandemic response strategy.

The vaccine requirement may reach the Supreme Court, some experts say.

Despite the legal challenges, a new survey suggests that the policy is popular with a majority of U.S. employers.

Global advisory, broking, and solutions company Willis Towers Watson conducted the survey between November 12 and November 18.

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The survey included 543 large U.S. companies, representing about 5.2 million workers in total.

The majority (57 percent) of companies that responded to the survey said that they either already required Covid vaccines or plan to do so.

This includes 18 percent that currently have mandates in place and 32 percent that intend to add vaccine requirements if OSHA's standard takes effect.

Another seven percent of employers said that they plan to require vaccination, even if the OSHA standard does not take effect.

For almost one-third (31 percent) of companies planning vaccine mandates, losing workers over the ruling is a major concern.

Among companies that currently have vaccine mandates in place, however, just three percent said that resignations are increasing among their employees.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of employers said that vaccine mandates could potentially be a draw for new employees and retention.

'Despite the current holding pattern pending the court rulings, we advise employers to proceed with plans to implement the mandate as well as other efforts to protect their workers,' said Dr Jeff Levin-Scherz, population health leader at Willis Towers Watson.

'Employers can encourage vaccinations and boosters with scheduling flexibility and time off, promote regular testing, stipulate mask wearing onsite to ensure employee health and safety - and support this with regular communications.'

According to the survey, vaccine mandates are more popular with employers than financial incentives. Pictured: Check-in at a pop-up clinic in Rosemead, California, November 2021

About half of the companies included in Willis Towers Watson's survey said they intend to judge medical exemption and religious exemption requests internally.

Vaccine mandates were more popular with the companies surveyed than financial incentives.

Three-quarters of the companies reported that they weren't offering any financial incentives.

Just 11 percent currently offer some form of incentive, while 14 percent have ended or plan to end their incentive programs.

Many companies that responded to the survey are planning - or already using - additional Covid safety measures in addition to vaccines.

Nine in ten employers are already requiring or plan to require masks in indoor settings.

The vast majority of employers in the survey (84 percent) are also planning to offer testing to employees.

One quarter of companies said their unvaccinated employees would be required to pay for tests out of pocket.

Companies are still figuring out their testing strategies, though.

Almost half (47 percent) of the employers that are already offering or plan to offer tests said that they're unsure or haven't yet determined which tests to use.

While pandemic concerns remain ongoing - as cases increase again in the U.S. and the Omicron variant presents a new threat - many companies are reaching a 'new normal' at their workplaces.

About 29 percent of companies in the survey said their organizations had reached that 'new normal' already, while 28 percent said they anticipate entering 'new normal' in late 2022.

The respondents said that about one-third of employees are working remotely, on average, and this number is expected to drop in early 2022.

'Employers continue to evaluate the best way to keep their workers, families and the community safe,' Levin-Scherz said.

'With the risk of Covid infection higher now than a month ago, some companies have delayed bringing employees back to the worksite.' 

Companies across the country impose vaccine mandates for workers - and even visitors

AT&T - Only managers must be vaccinated

Alaska Airlines - All US employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8  

American Airlines - All US employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 24 or face termination 

Amtrak - All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 and new employees must show proof of vaccination starting Oct. 4. Employees could be granted medical or religious exemptions and will instead undergo weekly Covid-19 testing

Ascension Health - All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 12, including those working remotely

Capital One - All employees must be vaccinated before returning to work, with offices scheduled to reopen in November 

Centene Corporation - All employees must provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular Covid-19 testing and wear masks at all times in the office

Chevron - Expatriate employees, workers traveling internationally, and employees on U.S.-flagged ships must be vaccinated. Offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico must be vaccinated by Nov. 1

Cisco - All office workers must be vaccinated

Citigroup - All employees working in major cities must be vaccinated

CNN - All employees must be vaccinated and three have already been fired for violating the policy

CVS - Pharmacists must be vaccinated by Nov. 30 and corporate workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 31, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons

Deloitte - All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 11

Delta Air Lines - All employees must be vaccinated or pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan

Disney - All Disney cast members must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 22 

DoorDash - All corporate employees working in person must be vaccinated

Envision Healthcare - All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions

Equinox - New York City employees and members must be vaccinated beginning in September

Facebook - All US office workers must be vaccinated

Ford - All employees who travel for international business must be vaccinated

Frontier Airlines - All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing

General Electric - All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8, with exemptions for medical or religious reason 

Gilead Sciences - All U.S. employees and contractors must be vaccine by Oct. 1 with exemptions for medical and religious reasons

Goldman Sachs - All office staff and visitors must be vaccinated and will be subjected to regular Covid-19 testing starting September 7, with no exemptions

Google - All office workers must be vaccinated

Hawaii Airlines - All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1, but could apply for medical or religious exemptions and instead undergo regular Covid-19 testing

Hess - Employees who work in the Gulf of Mexico must be vaccinated by Nov. 1

IBM - All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8, with exemptions for medical or religious reason, or face unpaid suspensions 

JetBlue Airways - All US employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8 

Johnson and Johnson - All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 4 with exemptions for medical or religious reason

Lyft - All office workers must be vaccinated

McDonald’s - All U.S. employees, excluding those at corporate or franchise restaurants, must be vaccinated by Oct. 11

MGM Resorts - Salaried office employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15 and new office employees must be vaccinated starting Aug. 30. Las Vegas employees must undergo regular Covid-19 testing

Microsoft - All office workers and guests must be vaccinated by Oct. 4

Moderna - All US employees must be vaccinated by October

Morgan Stanley - All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1

Netflix - Anyone working in or visiting the company's offices must be vaccinated

Northwestern Mutual - All office workers must be vaccinated with exemptions for medical or religious reason

Norwegian Cruise Line - All crew and passengers must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding

Pfizer - All U.S. employees and contractors must be vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing

Politico - All employees must be vaccinated

Saks Fifth Avenue - All office employees must be vaccinated

Salesforce - All office workers must be vaccinated

The New York Times - All office workers must be vaccinated

The Washington Post - All employees must be vaccinated by Sept. 13

TJX - Only Home and Regional Office Associates must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions

Twitter - All office workers in San Francisco and New York must be vaccinated

Tyson Foods - All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1 and other staffers by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions

Uber - All office workers must be vaccinated

United Airlines - All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 25 with medical and religious exemptions

UPS - All headquarters and office building employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1

Walgreens - All workers in support offices must be vaccinated by Sept. 30 or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing

Walmart - All staff at its headquarters and managers traveling within the U.S. must be vaccinated by Oct. 4, with medical and religious exemptions

Walt Disney parks - All on-site salaried and non-union employees must be vaccinated. Union employees have until Oct. 22 with medical and religious exemptions

 

Read more:
  • Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Announces Details of Two Major Vaccination Policies
  • Biden Covid vaccine mandate will likely reach the Supreme Court
  • Over half of U.S. employers will require employee vaccines, Willis Towers Watson survey finds - Willis Towers Watson

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