Dear WWU Community,
You may know that Provost Carbajal, Vice President Huskey and I were planning on holding a virtual Q&A forum to discuss our fall reopening plans and other strategic matters this afternoon. We have decided to postpone that event, since there have been several new developments just in the past 24 hours that may impact our planning especially as it relates to a vaccine mandate.
Yesterday, Washington State University announced a system-wide requirement for proof of the COVID-19 vaccine for the 2021-2022 academic year for all students and employees engaged in activities at a WSU campus or location. The Governor’s office is now contemplating a statewide mandate that would encompass all colleges and universities in our state, public and private, two- and four-year. Following that message, I received word from a couple of other presidents that they too are considering a vaccine mandate regardless of a directive from the Governor.
And just a few hours before that, a breaking news announcement from the Seattle Times stated that King County, from where we draw a significant number of our students, is likely to move back to Phase 2 amid what Governor Inslee is calling the fourth wave of the pandemic in our state. Needless to say, this is a fluid situation.
We recognize the need to make decisions soon to allow sufficient time for registration, course development, and other important planning activities. I ask for your patience for a few more days as we await official directives and guidance from the Governor’s office and the Washington State Department of Health. In the meantime, we will continue to rely on the advice and planning expertise of Western’s incident management team, which is also assessing the situation. It is our goal to be as transparent as possible, listen to you and your concerns, and work as hard as we can on a game plan that gets us back to more normal operations as soon as safety and health considerations permit.
I thank you for your patience and understanding and I look forward to being back in touch with you very soon.