Dear Faculty and Staff Members,
Yesterday afternoon Gov. Jay Inslee issued proclamation 20-12-3 to clarify operating guidelines and vaccination requirements for institutions of higher education. The proclamation goes into effect today, and includes requirements for institutions that do not meet the definition of being “fully vaccinated.”
After consultation with the COVID-19 Management Group, board of trustees, and faculty and staff leadership, our Emergency Policy Council (consisting of the president and Cabinet members) has determined that in order to resume campus life this fall as planned, we must extend the vaccination requirement for students to include faculty and staff members. This is absolutely essential in order to move forward with an in-person fall semester and deliver the fully engaging and robust experience that our students need and expect.
We are already making good progress, with 77% of faculty and staff voluntarily uploading proof of vaccination to Human Resources. Please note that in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Aug. 25 (just ahead of when the majority of students arrive on campus for the fall), faculty and staff must submit proof of vaccination by Wednesday, Aug. 11.
Getting Vaccinated. If you are not yet vaccinated, the first vaccine in the Moderna series must be received by July 14; the Pfizer series by July 21; or the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Aug. 11. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered on a walk-in basis in Counseling, Health and Wellness Services (second floor, Wheelock Student Center) on Wednesday, July 21, 10–11:30 a.m.
Requesting Exemptions. Faculty and staff members who wish to pursue a medical exemption or religious exemption should do so as soon as possible. Those who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated by Aug. 11 must continue to wear masks, observe social distancing, submit a daily health screening form prior to coming to or engaging on campus, participate in weekly asymptomatic testing, and comply with other COVID-19 mitigation protocols.
Mask Protocol. At this time, we are continuing with our previously announced mask protocols on campus. This may change prior to Aug. 11, but currently, regardless of vaccination status:
- wearing masks outdoors on campus is not required as long as appropriate social distancing is maintained, and
- masks are required to be worn indoors on campus until notified otherwise.
The virus and its variants are still circulating, and while Washington state has loosened restrictions on mask-wearing and social distancing, this could change at any time should a resurgence in infections occur. Requiring vaccinations for those who work on campus is an unprecedented but necessary step in order to protect the health and safety of everyone on campus as we resume the full communal and residential liberal arts college experience that is so essential to Puget Sound’s mission, and to student success as they work toward the completion of their degrees.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and for everything you have done and continue to do to protect the health of our community and make it possible for us to offer an exceptional experience for our students.
Please look for additional information in the coming days, including details about the telework policy, campus visitors, procedures related to maintaining vaccination records, asymptomatic testing protocols, and a series of informal campus events for faculty and staff to celebrate coming together as a community again—in person!
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President