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In reversal, EWU requiring COVID-19 vaccine for students and staff

EWU Interim President Dr. David May said in a letter to students and staff that the university will now require the COVID-19 vaccine.

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University will now require students and staff to get vaccinated nearly a month after the school said it would not require a COVID-19 shot.

On May 6, 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.”

In a reversal on Thursday, May said in a letter to students and staff that the university will now require the COVID-19 vaccine.

“At this point, as the situation and information has evolved, I understand that it is in the best interest of the full university community to add a requirement for vaccinations to the incentives that are already in place,” May said in the letter. “This requirement will be implemented in accordance with our policy on immunizations and will include exceptions for religious and medical reasons. Uploading your vaccination information will allow additional opportunities such as working in shared workspaces without a mask as outlined in the latest directives from Labor and Industries with additional opportunities forthcoming in the future.”

May said the university will take a three-pronged approach to get the campus community vaccinated. First, the school will raise awareness about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Then, they will focus on ways to incentivize people to get vaccinated. The third area of focus will be making vaccines easily available through walk-in clinics.

The university will host a walk-in clinic June 9 for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   

On May 26, the university announced that will offer incentives such as free tuition for a year, gift cards, passes for football games and more to those who get vaccinated.

Drawings for students and staff at EWU will occur every Wednesday beginning June 9 until all incentives are awarded and winners will be notified via their university email, according to the campaign's web page.

Students must upload their vaccination record online to qualify. The drawing schedule for select student incentives is as follows:

  • June 9: Annual Parking Pass (Cheney Campus)
  • July 17: 1 Quarter Access to President’s Parking Spot in P-15B
  • Aug. 4: 1 Year Tuition Waiver (FY21)
  • Aug. 25: iPad Pro
  • Sept. 22: Fall Term Parking Pass (Cheney Campus)
  • Oct. 20: EWU Athletics Adidas Gear Package
  • Nov. 17: 4 Front Row Seats for an EWU Theater Production
  • Dec. 8: Winter Term Parking Pass (Cheney Campus)