Novel coronavirus information

June 3, 2021

Requiring vaccinations for UW employees to protect our community (Message to employees)

This message is being sent to faculty and other academic personnel, staff, trainees, and student employees across the University of Washington.

Dear Colleagues,

With more than half of Washington residents age 16 and over now fully vaccinated, we continue to see declines in COVID-19 cases and anticipate the planned statewide re-opening on June 30. Thank you to everyone who has already gotten vaccinated to protect yourself and to protect the members of our community who aren’t able — or aren’t yet able — to be vaccinated.

To protect the health of our community, the University of Washington will require faculty and other academic personnel, staff, student employees, and trainees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter in order to work on our campuses or within our facilities. This is consistent with our requirement that students be vaccinated and follows the release of new workplace requirements from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. Similar to the student requirement, employees will be allowed to seek exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

This decision follows the recommendation of the University Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases and comes after consultation with faculty and staff leadership, as well as the state. Work is underway on how this requirement will be implemented, and more details will be shared in early summer on how you can confirm that you have been vaccinated or apply for an exemption. Guidance this summer will include more detail on how this requirement will interact with the existing UW Medicine employee vaccine survey, as well its application to faculty affiliates or staff who do not come to UW campuses or facilities and those employees who work out of state.

The Department of Labor and Industries has issued new guidance regarding vaccine verification and health and safety requirements for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. We expect that additional regulatory guidance will be released as we approach the state’s planned lifting of most health restrictions on June 30. We are in the process of reviewing the new requirements, such as around masking and distancing, and anticipate updating University requirements after that date. Until then, existing University and UW Medicine requirements remain in effect.

The FDA-authorized vaccines — which are based on technology that’s been under development for more than two decades — are safe and effective. Widespread vaccination is our ticket to a return to in-person learning and working as we create the “new normal” for our University, and we encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology

Mark A. Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences