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'The decision to get vaccinated is not one that we can make for you': EWU won't require COVID vaccinations for fall semester

University leadership is considering easing some restrictions for students who are vaccinated.

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University announced Thursday it will not require students and staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning for the fall semester.

The comes after the University of Washington and Washington State University both announced they will require vaccinations to return to classrooms.

In a letter to staff and students, EWU Interim President Dr. David May said, “In the spirit of transparency, we know that the decision to get vaccinated is not one that we can make for you. There are good reasons, religious, medical, and philosophical, why someone may choose not to be vaccinated. And we have been clear that public health and safety is a responsibility that we all share and choosing to be vaccinated is how Eagles take care of one another and our broader community.”

May goes on to ask students and staff to “take personal responsibility and choose to be vaccinated before coming back to campus.” He said the EWU community needs to do its part to keep campus open.

However, university leadership is considering easing some restrictions for students who are vaccinated and there may be areas of campus and some activities where a vaccination requirement is implemented.  

EWU isn’t the only school in the Inland Northwest to make this decision. A Community Colleges of Spokane spokesperson said leaders "have no plans to make vaccinations mandatory for our students in the fall." The University of Idaho will not require COVID-19 vaccination for students or employees but the university will "strongly encourage it," UI spokesperson Jodi Walker wrote in a statement. Gonzaga University said it is currently in the process of researching and evaluating its COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Whitworth University has yet to make a decision on the issue.