Certain WSU COVID-19 guidelines set to go away in fall

Only select staff members able to verify student vaccination status; attestations will not be required

There has not been a decision as to whether unvaccinated students will have to follow social distancing guidelines in the fall, but they will still be required to wear masks.

OLIVIA WOLF | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

There has not been a decision as to whether unvaccinated students will have to follow social distancing guidelines in the fall, but they will still be required to wear masks.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

WSU faculty members and other select university staff will have the option to ask students to verify their vaccination statuses in the fall, but are not required to do so. 

“There are really only very specific people who would have the authority to ask for proof of [vaccination],” said Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communications. “An instructor or a faculty member in the classroom would have that authority. If there is a manager of a facility, he or she would have the ability to ask students to verify their vaccination status.”

Larger classes will hold lectures online with in-person discussion sections during the week, giving students the opportunity to interact with peers, Weiler said.

Most classes will be held in person with very few exceptions, such as if a professor is high-risk, said Shawn Ringo, assistant director of Occupational Health and Safety.

COVID-19 attestations will not be required in the fall either. If a person is sick, the expectation is to stay home, he said. 

The athletic training program held in-person classes this past spring semester, said Scott Landis, athletic training professor.

“We submitted our proposal to have the classes in person and they approved,” he said. “There were very strict guidelines, of course. So pre and post-cleaning, assigned seating, student max [capacities] in the classroom.” 

Landis said he prefers in-person classes over the hybrid model because everyone is able to come together. 

Athletic training lab classrooms have seven to eight feet long treatment tables with two students sitting at the edge of each one, he said. 

Only 17 students were allowed in a classroom, but there were only about 10 to 13 in the room at a time, Landis said.

“We didn’t really give the students any choice in where they sat,” he said. “We know our students pretty well in the major, and we didn’t want two talkative people to sit too close together.”

Weiler said students who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines. These students are able to meet in groups and come in close contact with their peers.

The COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be highly effective, he said. The likelihood of getting COVID-19 and spreading it while vaccinated is low.

“We are well on track to having the vast majority of people already being fully vaccinated,” he said. “My hope is throughout the summer, that those people who haven’t will just get it done and get the vaccination. If everyone can be vaccinated, we can get back to life as normal.”

Ringo said there has not been a decision as to whether unvaccinated students will have to follow social distancing guidelines in the fall, but they will still be required to wear masks. 

Weiler said students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 have to go to a designated quarantine space. This past year, WSU utilized the McEachern Residence Hall as a quarantine space for students who tested positive; this will continue in the fall as well.

“I know from the faculty and staff perspective, we’re just itching to be able to get people back into the classroom,” Weiler said. “To be able to have those events out of the classroom that make the college experience so much fun.”