The university announced Wednesday that Washington State University will require proof that students and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to live or work at the university. The announcement comes as part of a plan to return to athletics at the university next fall.
All students living on campus at WSU Pullman University must submit their vaccination application by August 6. All other students will have until November 1 to provide proof. those who are not eligible to enroll in spring semester courses.
WSU is the first state university in Washington to announce vaccine requirements. It joins the University of Seattle և Pacific Lutheran University, two private universities that introduced vaccines to students earlier this month. University of Washington, West Washington University, Evergreen State College, Central Washington University have not announced their mandates, but strongly urge staff and students to vaccinate. Over the past month, California’s two state university systems and dozens of other colleges across the country have also announced new COVID-19 vaccine policies.
At WSU, students can receive medical or religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccines, just as other university-required measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines can.
The university is creating a new release for those who have personal concerns about vaccines. Students and staff are required to file requests for such exemptions, but university officials say they are still finding out what to ask of those who have resigned for personal reasons. Only students enrolled in online programs are exempt from the vaccine requirement.
“In fact, there is a concern that a section of the population has a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude towards the vaccine, ‘we do not have the luxury of waiting և to see,'” said University spokesman Phil Weiler. “Idleness is not an option.”
The vaccine demand comes amid the university’s broader plans to open university buildings for individual courses next fall. Exceptions will include large lectures involving more than 100 students, Weiler said. For these larger classes, instructors will teach remotely; students will be offered small group discussion sessions in person.
The university also plans to allow spectators to attend sporting events, and now plans to fill the venues with 50% of their standard capacity. All of this needs to change, Weiler said, based on vaccine levels and local coronavirus cases.
UW and Evergreen are also hoping to return to individual training this fall, starting with return-to-home courses, university housing, and sporting events. At Evergreen, for example, officials say they expect most courses to be delivered in person through a hybrid distance learning hybrid. “We try to do as much as we can in the fall,” said Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen College’s vice president of communications. But those plans could change if he changed the course of the epidemic.