WSU students showing strong vaccination rates as in-person classes start Monday
PULLMAN, Wash – Classes start Monday on the Washington State University Pullman campus and students are following guidelines to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
During a WSU town hall online Thursday, WSU outlined student vaccination rates. The university shared that more than 11,000 students have either uploaded their vaccine information or submitted requests for medical or religious exemptions. Of those, 93.3% have received the vaccine.
Students have until September 10th to comply with the university’s requirement.
“Masking, all those other things are important, but getting that vaccine allows us to have those in-person experience that so many people have told us they would like for this fall semester,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “I’ve been so impressed with how seriously people have taken this.”
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University faculty and staff also have to prove vaccination status or request religious and medical exemptions, per Governor Inslee’s order issued this week. Those employees have until mid-October to comply. WSU had previously asked employees to declare their vaccine status by Monday; that is still in place, in addition to the governor’s requirement.
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The university was already considering new state mandate requiring people to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. WSU was already working on a mask mandate of its own before Governor Inslee announced the statewide mandate.
Everyone at the town hall Thursday expressed happiness about seeing students and faculty on-campus. Classes were remote last year due to COVID-19. Some students are in their second year at WSU and have never been in school on the WSU campus.
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WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun welcomed back students and said he “applauds the efforts of Governor Inslee to protect the health and safety of everyone in Washington and our university.”
Chun said he wants a full Martin Stadium this fall and full venues for other athletic events this fall.
He did not specifically address the fact that head football coach Nick Rolovich has publicly said he would not get the vaccine. When asked about the governor’s mandate Thursday, Rolovich simply said that he’ll follow the mandate, but did not specifically say if he would get the shot or request an exemption.
Chun also confirmed that, as of right now, there are no restrictions on tailgating.
“These are seven sacred Saturdays that really connect all of us together,” Chun said.
WSU opens the season Saturday, September 4th against Utah State.
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