WSU to eliminate vaccine mandate for employees, contractors, and volunteers in most settings

Students and healthcare workers among those still required to be vaccinated

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

WSU is set to eliminate the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for employees, contractors and volunteers, according to WSU Insider. 

The lifting of the mandate is coupled with Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement that the Covid-19 emergency orders will end on Oct 31. The mandate will then be lifted for the previously mentioned individuals on Nov 1.

WSU’s announcement said that the mandate will be lifted “in most settings,” but did not clarify what settings the mandate will not be lifted. However, there are known certain employment situations where there will be a requirement for vaccination still.

Faculty members who work in clinical and healthcare settings will still need to be vaccinated, according to The Seattle Times. 

The mandate was campus-wide and has been effected since the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, being renewed at the beginning of this year.

Notably, this mandate was the grounds for the dismissal of several employees, including then-head football coach Nick Rolovich, who was unable to secure an exemption in the time allotted to him. Rolovich has filed a tort suit against the state and is seeking $25 million in damages for wrongful termination, according to KREM.

Students are still required to be vaccinated and the requirement will be in effect through the spring semester, according to Cougar Health Services. 

WSU will re-evaluate the mandate for students following the conclusion of the academic year, but it may be an extended period of time before students will find out if the requirement will still be in effect for the 2023-24 school year.

“When we finish classes in May, we’ll take a step back and decide whether we want to continue to have mandatory vaccinations in place for students. said Phil Weiler, vice president of marketing and communications at WSU.  We’ll evaluate whether it makes sense to keep it in place or not then,”

The University recommends the members of the community follow the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health as well as to regularly visit Environmental Health & Safety for the most current information on the university’s COVID‑19 conditions.