Novel coronavirus information

August 18, 2021

Governor expands vaccine mandate to higher education personnel

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that personnel at higher education institutions, K-12 schools and childcare providers will be added to his previous order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment for state employees and health care workers. Under this expanded proclamation, personnel at these institutions, including the University of Washington, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 if they have not been granted an exemption for a documented medical condition or sincerely held religious belief.

The University will share additional details once an updated proclamation is received from the Governor’s Office and we determine how UW’s vaccination requirements will be updated, including changes to the process for requesting a medical or religious exemption. We are also determining how the state mandate making vaccination a condition of employment affects UW faculty, staff and other academic personnel, including tenured faculty and employees covered by labor contracts.

UW Medicine, the School of Dentistry and other clinical environments were already implementing the Governor’s Aug. 9 proclamation mandating vaccination for workers in health care settings, which changed verification requirements and eliminated the philosophical exemption.

President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards last week announced the UW’s intention to eliminate the philosophical exemption in the University’s vaccination requirements for all students and personnel. The UW is working to implement this change, which is backed by today’s extension of the state vaccination mandate to higher education personnel, as well as to verify the vaccination information provided by students and personnel.

To meet the state mandate for being fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, personnel need to initiate their vaccination as soon as possible, and then complete their attestation form when fully vaccinated. All incoming and returning students must complete their vaccination attestation before beginning their coursework, and all personnel must do so before working on-site at a UW campus or facility.

During today’s news conference, Gov. Inslee also announced that a statewide indoor mask mandate would take effect Aug. 23, which does not change UW operations. On Aug. 14 the University reinstated an indoor mask mandate for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. A mask or other suitable face covering is required indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators and shared vehicles.

Additional information on the health measures in place at the University of Washington is available at the COVID-19 recovery status page. And incoming and returning undergraduate, professional and graduate students can see what steps they need to take for a healthy and successful autumn quarter by visiting the Back-to-School Checklist.