Masks, social distancing no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals, WSU says

People not wearing masks on campus will be asked to show proof of vaccination

People not wearing masks on campus will be asked to show proof of their fully vaccinated status.


People not wearing masks on campus will be asked to show proof of their fully vaccinated status.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

WSU students, employees and visitors will not have to wear masks or practice social distancing on campus if they are fully vaccinated. 

People not wearing masks on campus will be asked to show proof of their fully vaccinated status, said Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communications. 

Students can prove their vaccination status in one of three ways, according to WSU’s guidance. The first form of proof is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine card that includes their name, type of vaccine and last administered dose. The second form is a photo of their vaccination card, and the third is a document from the state’s system records or a healthcare provider. 

Weiler said he expects a high number of students to be vaccinated before the beginning of fall semester. 

“I think it’s important to note, that the only people who are at risk [to] individuals who are not vaccinated are those individuals themselves who chose not to be vaccinated,” he said. 

Students who are not vaccinated must still wear masks and practice social distancing, he said. Students can apply for an exemption from getting vaccinated for medical, religious or personal reasons, but they must still follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

“I think the number … of people who are not vaccinated because of one of … those three exemptions is going to be extremely small,” he said. 

Employees will have their vaccination status listed on Workday, which is an app used by all WSU employees. Weiler said work supervisors will be responsible for making sure individuals who are not fully vaccinated are still following COVID-19 safety guidelines like mask use and social distancing. 

People will still be required to wear masks while in child care or health care facilities on campus, Weiler said. 

When classes begin in fall, teachers and faculty members are allowed to ask students to show proof of their vaccination status, he said. Students who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing inside the classroom. 

As of now, classes with 100 or fewer students will be completely in person, and classes with more than 100 students will be partially in person. However, Weiler said he is hopeful that social distancing guidelines will change before the beginning of fall semester, so bigger classes can also be fully in person. 

“If that distancing requirement is dropped by August, then we can just walk them into any classroom that’s got enough seats in it,” he said. 

Students will also be required to show proof of vaccination to use facilities like University Recreation, dining halls, libraries and residence halls, Weiler said. 

He said students who plan on staying in residence halls or on-campus housing will be required to submit proof of vaccination or an exemption by Aug. 6, so the university can make arrangements for unvaccinated students. 

The university will release specific information about how to apply for an exemption later this summer, Weiler said. 

He said it is important students who cannot get vaccinated because of medical reasons are not living close to people who choose to not get vaccinated for philosophical reasons. 

“It’s for their own safety, it’s for their own health, we want to do everything we can to keep our students safe and healthy,” he said. 

Weiler said he thinks the coronavirus pandemic will cause a cultural shift in America in regards to mask use. He said it is possible people will continue wearing masks after the pandemic during days they are feeling sick. 

“There’s always a knock on Americans that we have this tendency to go to work or we go to class when we don’t feel good,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see in the future … if you’re not feeling 100 percent that you slip on your mask.” 

Students and employees can face consequences if they fake their vaccination status, according to the WSU guidance. 

“We’re going to hold people accountable to that, and so there needs to be those consequences in place,” he said. 

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC

WSU is following COVID guidelines from the CDC, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and Gov. Jay Inslee’s office, Weiler said. 

“I think people are gonna be able to enjoy the fact that they don’t have to put on masks,” Weiler said. “And more importantly, they can get together with friends and hang out and not risk infecting each other.”