The University of Washington campus in Seattle. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
The University of Washington will require all students get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the autumn quarter, UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced Monday.
In a message to students, faculty, academic personnel and staff at UW, Cauce said “widespread vaccination is the only real way we can put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and return to a more normal way of living, learning and working.”
Unless claiming a medical, religious or philosophical exemption, student will need to verify that they have been vaccinated. If they are unable to get vaccinated where they currently live, UW says it will provide access to vaccinations once they arrive on campus.
The COVID vaccine requirement is similar to UW’s Tri-Campus Immunity Verification Requirement, which is aimed at protecting the university community from outbreaks of infectious diseases like measles, mumps and meningitis ACWY.
As colleges have struggled to control COVID outbreaks on campuses, NPR reported last month that more are going the route of requiring vaccination. NPR said colleges have long required vaccinations for infectious diseases and referenced a survey of about 100 four-year institutions representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in which nearly all required at least one vaccine for enrollment. The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, was required at 87.5% of campuses surveyed.
Cauce said decisions about COVID vaccine requirements for faculty, academic personnel and staff will be made after further consultation with faculty, academic personnel and staff leadership, and the state.
“Our community is one that cares — about each other and about the state and society we serve,” she said. “For your health, and for the health of us all, please get vaccinated as soon as you can.”
Washington State University announced April 28 that it is also requiring students to be vaccinated. WSU said students whose programs are fully online and/or for which an on‑campus/location presence does not occur are automatically exempted from the requirement.